On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on the House Amendment to the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act, S. 1182. This amendment would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which currently expires July 31, until November 30, without any reforms to the program.
The amendment would provide for a clean reauthorization without reforms, despite consistent efforts by fiscally-conscious members to modify the program, which is over $20 billion in debt. This is more of the same pattern seen all too often in Congress — Leadership unwilling to support even the most modest reforms to fiscally irresponsible, flawed programs. With NFIP, only 3 of the 41 reauthorizations in the past 20 years have included any reforms.
The House passed this legislation last week after a refusal to move on any of the policies presented to reform the program during a reauthorization, such as those in the bipartisan NFIP Extension and Enhanced Consumer and Community Protection Act, H.R. 6402. After the legislation was sent over to the Senate last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) attempted to offer an even more minor reform to the program, but was stopped from even successfully doing that.
Sen. Lee asked unanimous consent to renew the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for four months with a minor reform, which was that the program wouldn’t write new policies for properties worth more than $2.5 million. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) objected.
“The National Flood Insurance Program is $20 billion in debt. It has been reauthorized seven times in the last six years without reforms, even as it has proven less and less sustainable,” Sen. Lee said from the floor on Thursday. “We came very close to adopting significant reforms in October 2017, but those reforms were scuttled at the last minute by Senate leadership, with promises that we’d adopt the reforms before the next reauthorization.”
"The request [to prevent new policies for properties worth more than $2.5 million] was so mild that I felt like a sellout for proposing it. But even that reform was not acceptable to the NFIP industrial complex. One of my colleagues objected to my request. There are still a few procedural maneuvers I can deploy between now and early next week,” he said, “but my colleague’s objection—coupled with the fact that the majority leader filed cloture on the House-passed bill—will likely mean the end of this effort, at least for now.”
Sen. Lee continued with a remark that drives the true point home of what this vote means for Americans. “This is terribly discouraging. It’s not just this program; it’s all that it represents,” he said. “If we aren’t willing to adopt even modest reforms to a minor program like NFIP, how will we ever address any of the far more vexing problems facing our government?”
Sen. Lee is absolutely correct. Our elected officials are supposed to act in the best interest of their constituents. Stifling reforms to a so clearly defunct program after numerous attempts by members to offer reforms, especially after Senate leadership promised reforms, is unacceptable. Moreover, it indicates a lack of will among Congress to enact true reforms in any space.
FreedomWorks will count the votes for the House Amendment to the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act, S. 1182, on our 2018 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score votes for amendments not listed above. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks