Congress approved a short-term extension for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was included in a temporary federal government funding deal made Thursday. The extension ensures the program will operate as normal through Dec. 22. Its future, though, remains uncertain.
The NFIP has been the source of great debate for months as lawmakers consider proposed reforms. An interruption to the program could generate problems for real estate markets in states at risk of flooding, including Texas, Florida and southeastern coastal states which continue to rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Though the two-week extension temporarily avoids these issues, it is unclear whether lawmakers will come to a deal before Dec. 22. Senators have voiced concerns over the potential increase in rates for homeowners under the NFIP reauthorization bill that cleared the House in November. It is likely that the the Senate will consider several bills of their own, including separate pieces of legislation by Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
The National Association of Realtors had previously voiced its support of the NFIP, as well as the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, which would, among other provisions, reauthorize the NFIP for five years.