CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3139 on Wednesday, July 29, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 3139 was introduced on July 7, 2009, by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and referred to the Committee on Financial Services, which took no official action.
H.R. 3139 would extend the National Flood Insurance Program from the end of FY 2009 through March 31, 2010. The legislation would also extend the Severe Repetitive Loss grant program, a pilot program for the mitigation of severe repetitive loss properties through FY 2010.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established in 1968 to reduce the risk of catastrophic flood damage through floodplain management, improve risk assessment through flood mapping, and promote flood insurance coverage and construction standards to guard against future damages. The program provides government-backed flood insurance in areas where the risk of flooding is high, making private insurance more costly. NFIP is administered by FEMA.
NFIP currently provides coverage to approximately 5 million people living in almost 20,000 communities deemed risky enough to receive subsidized insurance. These communities are required to adopt NFIP approved flood mitigation plans to meant to decrease flood damage. Since the 2005 hurricane season, the NFIP has accumulated approximately $18 billion in debt to cover its claims, leading the General Accounting Office to include it in its list of federal programs highly vulnerable "to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement."
The Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) grant program was established in 2004 by the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act, which amended the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to provide grants in an effort to reduce flood risk to Severe Repetitive Loss structures that are insured through NFIP. Generally, the grant program requires a 75 percent to 25 percent federal/non-federal funding ratio for flood mitigation grants. However, the program may fund up to 90 percent of a project with federal funds if the local government uses FEMA-approved Standard or Enhanced Mitigation Plans or Indian tribal plans that include a strategy for mitigating existing and future SRL properties.
A CBO score for H.R. 3139 was not yet available at press time.