GovTrack’s Bill Summary
We don’t have a summary available yet.
The bill’s title was written by the bill’s sponsor. H.R. stands for House of Representatives bill.
We don’t have a summary available yet.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
This summary can be found at http://www.gop.gov/bill/112/1/hr1309.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the nation’s flood exposure and the need to alleviate taxpayers’ responsibility for flood losses paid out in the form of post-disaster relief following annual flooding and severe flooding following hurricanes. At the time, Congress recognized that the inherent challenges of managing flood risk were too great for the private sector and that no viable private sector insurance alternative existed. The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 established a mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement for structures located in identified Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Under the 1973 Act, federally regulated lenders were obligated to require flood insurance on any mortgage issued or guaranteed by the federal government in a designated SFHA in a participating community. By 1994, lax enforcement of the mandatory purchase requirements led Congress to require lenders to purchase coverage on behalf of—and bill premiums to—mortgagees who failed to purchase coverage on their own (called ‘‘forced placed insurance’’). Since 1994, lenders who fail to enforce the mandatory purchase requirement have been subject to civil penalties.
Eligible homeowners, renters, and business owners purchase coverage under the program either directly from the NFIP or, more often, from private insurers that voluntarily participate in the Write Your Own (WYO) program. WYO insurers take responsibility for policy administration and claims processing but assume no financial risk in settling claims. As of 2010, there are approximately 5.6 million residential and commercial policyholders under the NFIP.
The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is housed in the Department of Homeland Security. The NFIP reduces future flood losses through: (i) flood hazard identification; (ii) floodplain management (e.g., land use controls and building codes); and (iii) insurance protection. The NFIP generated premium income of approximately $3.3 billion in 2010. The 2005 hurricane season resulted in significant claims which the program’s annual premium income could not cover. To pay the claims, the NFIP borrowed from the U.S. Treasury. Prior to 2005, the NFIP’s borrowing authority had been limited by statute to $1.5 billion. Congress made up for the shortfall by increasing the program’s borrowing authority three times between September 2005 and January 2007 (from $1.5 billion to $20.8 billion). The NFIP currently owes $17.775 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
Since 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified the NFIP as ‘‘high-risk’’ because of inadequate management and insufficient funds.
H.R. 1309 would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30, 2016, and amends the National Flood Insurance Act. The key provisions of H.R. 1309 include: (1) a five-year reauthorization of the NFIP; (2) a three-year delay in the mandatory purchase requirement for certain properties in newly designated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs); (3) a phase-in of full-risk, actuarial rates for areas newly designated as Special Flood Hazard; (4) a reinstatement of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council; and (5) an emphasis on greater private sector participation in providing flood insurance coverage.
The bill would provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the authority to continue selling and renewing policies through fiscal year 2016, otherwise scheduled to expire at the end of the current fiscal year. As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) notes, the program is assumed to continue in the CBO baseline, consistent with the rules governing baseline projections for mandatory programs. Thus, extending the NFIP would have no effect on direct spending relative to the baseline.
However, H.R. 1309 would make a number of technical changes to the program. The two changes that would affect direct spending are:
1. Premium increases for some pre-FIRM policyholders
2. Temporary discounted premiums for certain properties located in such areas
Other changes that CBO estimates would affect the amount of flood insurance coverage and the amount of premiums collected but would not affect net direct spending include:
1. Increasing the minimum-policy deductible
2. Increasing the average annual limit on premium growth
3. Increasing the maximum coverage for structure and contents policies
4. Introducing new lines of insurance
The net effect of these reforms, according to CBO, is an increase of $4.2 billion in net income to the program over the next ten years.
Additionally, H.R. 1309 would establish a Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) to develop and recommend new mapping standards for Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The council would submit the new standards to FEMA and the Congress within 12 months of enactment and would continue to review those standards for four additional years, at which time the council would be terminated. Beginning six months after the TMAC issues its initial set of recommendations, FEMA would be required to update all FIRMs within five years to incorporate the new standards.
The bill would also direct FEMA and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct studies and issue reports on topics such as: limiting the percentage of policies directly managed by FEMA, community-based flood insurance, building codes, varying risk behind levees, privatization of the NFIP, and the financial status and claims-paying ability of the program.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting this legislation would affect direct spending. However, enacting this legislation would not affect revenues.
Under both current law and this legislation, the NFIP may borrow an additional $3 billion from the Treasury. Assuming a small probability of a rare catastrophic event, CBO expects that this additional borrowing authority will be exhausted in 2014. The changes made by this legislation would reduce the need to borrow from the Treasury—a source of direct spending—by a total of $165 million in 2013 and 2014, CBO estimates. However, because the program would continue to operate with an annual net deficit, reduced borrowing in those years would be offset by increased borrowing in 2015.
CBO also estimates that the changes made by H.R. 1309 would increase net income to the NFIP by $4.2 billion over the 2012-2021 period, improving the financial status of the program by that amount. However, CBO expects that additional income earned by the program would be used to fulfill existing obligations that would otherwise be delayed under current law. Therefore, the bill would have no net effect on direct spending in the next 10 years.
H.R. 1309 would also authorize a number of other activities, the cost of which would be offset by fee collections paid by policyholders. However, CBO estimates that other provisions would cost $317 million over the 2012-2016 period, subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts.
H.R. 1309 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), on public and private mortgage lenders. Because the mandates would require only small changes in existing industry practice, CBO expects that the cost to comply with the mandates would be small relative to the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($71 million and $142 million in 2011, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).
The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We’ll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.
The bill contains the following citations to other parts of U.S. law:
The United States Code is the compilation of permanent laws enacted by Congress. Temporary and other non-permanent laws do not appear in the United States Code. (About half of the United States Code is the law itself, called positive law. The other half is merely a compilation of the laws but has no legal significance.)