New Jersey’s U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd, has introduced legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through hurricane season.
The NFIP is due to expire July 31. It has been extended several times for months at a time in the past year, as Congress tries to find a long-term reauthorization bill enough legislators can support.
The National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act would extend the program as currently written through November 30. It is sponsored by MacArthur and and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who represents parts of Louisiana that are vulnerable to storms and flooding.
MacArthur represents much of Ocean County, which was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, supports a longer NFIP extension through January 2019, said Jason Galanes, his chief of staff. A bill to do that was approved by the Senate a few weeks ago.
“He wants to avoid disruptions in coverage for policyholders and real estate transactions during the holidays,” Galanes said. “Additionally he continues to work with House leadership and relevant members on a long-term extension of the program.”
The House of Representatives passed a five-year reauthorization Nov. 14, 2017, which was supported by MacArthur but opposed by LoBiondo. That bill included a plan to reform the program, which is $25 billion in debt.
MacArthur said he authored provisions to limit premium increases, increase mitigation coverage and require more accountability at FEMA.
But the Senate failed to act on the bill.
At issue is how to reform the program. Some legislators want those who live in flood-prone areas to shoulder more of the cost, while others — like U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. — want to cut the administrative costs of the program to save money.
“I am calling on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle — and from both chambers of Congress — to come together and pass this bill to ensure that families and communities are not put at risk,” said MacArthur in a news release.
He said he will continue to work on long-term reauthorization “that gives homeowners certainty, ensures affordability, increases mitigation funds for shore communities, and instills accountability at FEMA for how they treat disaster victims.”