The National Flood Insurance Program will continue in operation during the current federal government shutdown, according to Dan Watson, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the program.
“In the case of a lapse in annual appropriations, FEMA, which administers the NFIP at the direction of Congress, will continue to pay out claims, write new policies and operate the NFIP with existing funds,” Watson said.
The NFIP will continue in operation because it is funded by premiums, not by Congress. That’s similar to the situation at the NCUA, which is funded by credit unions.
An estimated 800,000 federal workers were being furloughed starting Tuesday, while an additional 1 million will be working but with the understanding that it is unclear when they will be paid.
Members of Congress are being paid, according to announcements by several members of Congress, but their staffs are not.
Meanwhile, House and Senate supporters of legislation that would modify the 2012 law that would significantly raise flood insurance premiums are demanding prompt action by Congress to ease the impact on affected homeowners.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on Tuesday joined six other senators at a midday press conference.
The senators held the meeting as a way of “building momentum” for Congress to act promptly to on a “comprehensive legislative package aimed at “delaying, amending or significantly modifying” the Biggert-Water Flood Insurance Reform Act that passed last year. In some cases, the law mandates increases in flood insurance of up to 3,000% in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Those attending the session said they had enlisted the support of the National Homebuilders Association, National Association of Realtors, Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association in their effort to have the 2012 bill modified.
Joining Landrieu were Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Menendez ( D-N.J.)
“Our flood insurance program is not functioning the way it should and is putting a great number of people at risk,” Landrieu said.
The Mississippi state insurance commissioner has sued to stop the rate increases but that request for an injunction has not yet been heard.