A bipartisan effort pressed FEMA to undo a decision that would’ve prevented thousands of home buyers from obtaining flood insurance while the government is shut down.
The National Flood Insurance Program made the announcement the day after Christmas that they would no longer issue new flood insurance policies.
This news came after Congress passed legislation that aimed to reauthorize the program’s operations until May 2019 because millions of home buyers rely on the program to protect themselves from flooding, which is a major financial risk. In addition, to receive a mortgage on a home, coverage is many times required.
In an effort to combat this concern, Lauren Fine, spokesperson for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, announced that Scalise would be speaking to FEMA Administrator Brock Long to reverse the decision.
As well, Democrat Representative Maxine Waters, who will soon become chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, called for “FEMA to immediately reconsider this harmful and incorrect interpretation of its authority and resume its important work of providing flood insurance to families across the country.”
After receiving backlash, FEMA announced that flood insurance sales would be revived.
Speaking on the matter, Scalise explained that “While it’s frustrating that they did not follow Congressional intent from the beginning, I’m glad they were willing to work with me on reversing their decision.”
Florida Republican Senator John Kennedy wrote the legislation that Congress passed to reauthorize the program, and he blasted the agency for not following through with Congressional intent, saying that “President Trump signed my bill to prevent unnecessary chaos like this. FEMA’s decision will cause upheaval for home buyers and sellers across the country.”
In response to the criticism, FEMA notified insurers that they were rescinding their announcement and instead calling for insurers to resume selling flood policies. It was also noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget was involved in them moving forward with the decision.
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy added that “It’s unfortunate so many people were inconvenienced due to FEMA’s error, but I’m glad they are correcting it so home sales in limbo can proceed.”