House passes bill to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program and increase coverage limits

The House passed the Build Back Better Act, a bipartisan amendment introduced by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) to strengthen the National Flood Insurance Program and increase coverage limits, by a vote of 290-127 on Friday.

The bill passed the Senate by a 76-18 vote on Wednesday. This means Congress will have to finalize the bill before the end of the week, or allow it to expire.

Here’s a summary of the Build Back Better Act, released by the House Democratic Caucus, including numbers of cosponsors from each chamber:

“This bipartisan measure protects homeowners who are rebuilding after a devastating flood. It preserves thousands of policies and many millions of dollars in coverage to make all policyholders’ recoveries just as strong. It makes it clear that Congress has the strongest possible authority to ensure a program fully functioning for the next 30 years and without a new crisis that will test the limits of the American spirit. It builds consensus and reduces polarization to take steps that all of us, Republicans and Democrats, can agree to. The Build Back Better Act makes vital reforms to stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program and ensure that homeowners and communities can rebuild more safely, in a more timely, and affordable manner, than ever before. This marks the third time the House has overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program. The time has come to act. Let’s be the first Congress to put the American people first and build up the National Flood Insurance Program with bipartisan consensus.”

Here’s a summary of the Senate’s version of the Build Back Better Act, also released by the House Democratic Caucus:

“This bill creates stability and order in the flood insurance market by maintaining the NFIP’s current funding levels, while giving the Council an expedited process to replace or improve the program. New reforms reduce NFIP’s administrative costs by consolidating tools like the Random Task Report and reforming the local commissions. The plan accomplishes these goals without any new rate increases or taxpayer-funded relief. Notably, the bill codifies a provision, approved by the Congress in 1995 and created by President Clinton, which prohibits retroactive rate increases, gives credit to states for affordable flood insurance rates, and eliminates barriers that make it harder for small businesses to hire. The bill provides work to new flood specialists who will be better able to protect homeowners while providing more opportunities for policyholders to keep their homes. The bill will also set standards for the administration of flood maps that has often been delayed by court challenges. This comes after a flood mapping program in Detroit completely failed to produce a single map within a 20-year period, costing Michigan families and businesses millions of dollars and delaying their flood insurance payments for more than a decade. Under the Build Better Act, the government will partner with community and business stakeholders to ensure that the development is based on sound science and is cost-effective and efficient, while addressing concerns raised by critics. The bill also enables more communities to receive Community Development Block Grants, to help citizens secure relief, and helps members of Congress and their constituents complete tasks and red tape that can take months or even years to navigate. The Build Better Act will reinvigorate the National Flood Insurance Program to make it more affordable, environmentally responsible, and responsive to the needs of communities.

More details about the amendments to the Build Back Better Act are below.

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