On April 9, a new $17.2 billion disaster aid package was introduced in the House of Representatives. That bill, H.R. 2157, is scheduled for consideration this week. However, the Senate is still debating how much additional assistance Puerto Rico should receive. The impasse in the Senate is holding up billions of dollars in disaster aid to cities, towns, and villages impacted by hurricanes, floods, wildland fires, and other disasters since December. Senate Republicans latest offer includes an additional $300 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding for Puerto Rico.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is urging Congress to quickly pass the stalled disaster aid package, which is essential to help the cities, towns, and villages that were devastated by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 recover quickly, mitigate future risks, and improve local infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather in the long-term.
The House bill also includes language that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30. The NFIP is set to expire at the end of May. Once again, a four-month extension is necessary because the House and Senate have been unable to finalize legislation that would provide a long-term (five-year) reauthorization of the program. The previous law that reauthorized the program for five years expired in September 2017.
NLC is concerned that there is still considerable uncertainty about the fate of the NFIP and how the proposed reforms will impact flood insurance rates for primary, non-primary, and business properties. As Congress continues to consider these reforms to the NFIP, NLC is working to ensure the legislation protects the grandfathering of flood insurance rates, keeps flood insurance rates affordable, provides incentives to retrofit existing structures, and requires FEMA to utilize the best technology and methods available to improve the mapping process.
Visit the NLC's site to review what the House supplement disaster aid package provides.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.