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National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. STIVERS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentlelady from Illinois for yielding me time. I'd like to thank her as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Insurance and Housing for the Financial Services Committee for her incredible bipartisan effort that she led on this bill, along with Members of the other side, including the gentlelady from California and the gentleman from Georgia. It's been a true bipartisan effort. Obviously, that's reflected in the 402 18 vote coming out of this Chamber in May.

I'm happy that the Senate has finally reached an agreement to move forward with the multiyear extension of the National Flood Insurance Program because if we don't have a multiyear extension, what could happen is it could really cause problems in our housing market. I think the gentleman from Georgia has really talked about the importance of continuity and why that's really important for people that live in a flood plain to be able to know they can sell their house and also know that somebody can buy a home that happens to be in a flood plain.

I think it is important that we have accurate flood maps. This bill will ensure that we have much more accurate flood maps that have three dimensions on them, and that will result in better knowledge of where the flood plains are and where the risk is.

This bill will help stop the taxpayer-funded bailouts. As you know, the National Flood Insurance Program owes $17 billion to the taxpayers. We've got to make sure that it is sustainable into the future.

I think some of the Senate changes are good. The amendment by Senator Coburn that makes sure that we don't subsidize second and third homes that happen to be vacation homes makes a lot of sense. It steps up the premiums 25 percent a year for multiple years until they become actuarially sound. We need to ultimately move the whole program to an actuarially sound basis. That's why I'm concerned about some of the other provisions in the amended Senate language that removed the GAO study regarding privatization and allowing a chance to look at the flood insurance program's ability to pay claims over the long term.

I think it is important that we know the viability of the flood insurance program. But overall, I think having Senate amendments and a Senate agreement is a major step forward. I'm excited about continuing to work together to move this program forward and reauthorize it, hopefully, for a 5-year term. But this step to agree to Senate amendments to extend the time for a total of 60 days to get us past July so that hopefully the Senate will have time in June to bring this up, I think allows us the time we need to make that happen.

I do think if anybody in this body cares about our housing market or cares about stopping taxpayer-funded bailouts or wants to make sure that we have accurate flood maps, they should vote to agree to these amendments, and I hope all my colleagues will do so.

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