A tangle of politics and problems may force yet another delay in long-sought updates to the broke, beleaguered U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Congress has the unenviable task of putting NFIP back in the black without raising rates too quickly on folks who can’t afford to leave vulnerable coastal homes. And the weather isn’t helping.
The NFIP was due for reauthorization in September, after several years of challenge in the wake of the enormously costly Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Then came Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria this year—which complicated matters further by adding another $10-plus billion to the program’s $25-billion debt.
Congress passed a temporary extension of the NFIP that runs out in early December. There’s now a good chance that another extension will be needed, perhaps into 2018. The 21st Century Flood Reform Act, a House bill that appeared this week to be nearing a vote, instead found itself bottled up in committee. Several other draft bills in the House and Senate this year have failed to gain traction.