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The National Flood Insurance Program is in danger of expiring once again as President Donald Trump signaled he may veto an omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year and extend the NFIP through July 31.
The U.S. Senate passed the $1.3 trillion spending bill by a 65-32 vote on Thursday evening while the House of Representatives approved the bill earlier in the day by a 256-167 vote. But President Trump tweeted on Friday that he was considering a veto of the omnibus spending bill because it does not address the immigration status of more than 800,000 individuals brought into the United States as minors nor does it fully fund the president’s border wall.
The NFIP is scheduled to expire on Friday and has already briefly lapsed twice in 2018.
In January, the NFIP received a reprieve when it was retroactively reauthorized as part of a resolution to reopen the federal government, but even the brief lapse highlighted the significant consequences for risk managers of the program’s expiration.
In February, the NFIP was extended to March 23 as part of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government.
Prior to the president’s tweet, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents sent a statement welcoming the extension included in the omnibus bill, but also expressing alarm that Congress decided to decouple the NFIP, meaning separate it, from the funding of the federal government. The program will now expire July 31, rather than continue to Sept. 30, along with the rest of the omnibus, assuming it is not vetoed by the president.
“In the absence of a must-pass legislative vehicle to which it can be attached, the program will now be in danger of expiring for an extended period during hurricane season, putting millions of flood insurance policyholders at risk,” Jon Gentile, PIA’s national vice president of government relations, said in the Thursday statement. “In the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricanes, Congress should take no chances with the homes and businesses of policyholders.”
Even while attached to “must pass” legislation to fund the government, the NFIP has lapsed briefly twice this year alone and even short lapses can have a negative effect on consumers, according to PIA.
The results are in, and everybody’s a loser.