How the omnibus bill increases the odds of flood insurance reform
When NFIP renewals are tied to government funding deadlines, “it’s very easy to just keep kicking the can, because it just gets wrapped in, it’s just another thing to add to the pile of stuff,” says R.J. Lehmann of the R Street Institute, an expert on the program. “Because they changed the date, this has a standalone date that isn’t tied to the rest of the resolution,” according to Lehman, “Congress has to do something about this before July 31.”[…]
“It could be that they just extend it again without making reforms. That’s not out of the realm of possibility at all,” Lehmann notes. “But it creates an action that’s necessary, and by having that you open the door for a real process.”
Lehmann believes the omnibus provision wouldn’t have been added “unless there was at least an agreement to try to do something” on the part of leaders in the Senate.
As far as what to expect from potential reform legislation this summer, he points to efforts targeting repetitive loss properties, which account for a disproportionate amount of the program’s costs, and “language making more clear that private flood insurance would count for the federal mortgage lending requirements.”
“Both of those measures have been controversial in the Senate, which is why we have not had anything happen in the Senate,” Lehmann explains.
The House passed the omnibus legislation on Thursday afternoon.