As previously reported here, House Financial Services Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.) and committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.) sponsored HR 3139 to temporarily extend the National Flood Insurance Program (the “NFIP”) for a six-month period through March 31, 2010. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 3139.
In addition to extending the NFIP, the approved legislation includes a provision authored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D.-Calif.) that would change the NFIP by taking local, state and federal funding into account when determining flood zone designations. Under the current program, only areas that have federally funded levee improvements, not state or locally funded improvements, are eligible for a designation of A-99 or “high risk.” According to Matsui, states and communities are also investing millions of dollars in flood infrastructure and the approved legislation will require FEMA to take this investment into account.
Rep. Waters and Rep. Frank believe that the U.S. Senate will also vote in favor of the temporary extension that will allow lawmakers to consider long-term solutions and reforms for the NFIP. Rep. Frank stated, “It gives us a chance when we come back in 2010 to deal with this in a comprehensive way.” The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.