MacArthur, Marino, Scalise hail House approval of flood insurance extension bill

New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana residents and businesses are among the nation’s states to potentially benefit from the July 25 U.S. House approval of a bill to extend the federal flood insurance program, say U.S. Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Tom Marino (R-PA), and Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Extension Act of 2018, H.R. 6379, introduced by Rep. MacArthur on July 16, would reauthorize the NFIP through Nov. 30. Rep. Scalise is the bill’s original cosponsor, while U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) joined Rep. Marino as a cosponsor of the measure. The proposal now heads to the U.S. Senate, which faces a July 31 NFIP expiration deadline.

“Without flood insurance, homes cannot be bought or sold and mortgages cannot be acquired. That would devastate our local economy,” said Rep. MacArthur, referring to the Jersey Shore area of Ocean County, N.J., where “Superstorm Sandy … devastated our community, left hundreds of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed and resulted in more than $30 billion in losses.”

“While our region is still recovering from Sandy, we cannot enter another hurricane season allowing a lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program,” added the congressman.

The NFIP is especially critical during hurricane season in states such as Louisiana, said House Majority Whip Scalise, because “the threat of flooding is at its peak.”

“Let’s be clear: flooding is not just an issue that affects a handful of states,” said Rep. Scalise. “Families and small businesses in all 50 states have NFIP policies and are at risk for flooding because of one simple fact: wherever there is rain, or a river, stream or other body of water, there is potential for a flood.”

And while more work remains to pass a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP, it’s important that Congress doesn’t allow the program to lapse, Rep. Scalise said.

“Any reform package we consider must not pull the rug out from under families,” he said. “It must provide certainty and affordability to families, encourage private sector involvement, ensure strong taxpayer protections, and improve the mapping and mitigation programs within the NFIP.”

Rep. Marino agreed and said letting the NFIP expire would leave constituents in his Pennsylvania district “vulnerable to potential financial calamity.”

“I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to pass this extension and I look forward to working with them on a long-term solution that meets the needs of Pennsylvania families and businesses,” said Rep. Marino, adding that recent storms also make it imperative for Congress to extend the NFIP “so families and businesses are provided the certainty needed for the remainder of this hurricane season.”

Rep. MacArthur noted that while “many leaders in my own party worked against” H.R. 6379, he successfully forged bipartisanship “in the midst of Washington dysfunction to pass this bill, because this is what’s best for my district.”

“Now, the Senate needs to act and put this bill on the president’s desk,” he said. “I will continue working with my colleagues from both parties and in both chambers of Congress to find a long-term solution that increases investment in mitigation, holds FEMA accountable, and provides affordable coverage.”