Florida homeowners have found some temporary relief after the House of Representatives approved a two-week extension of the federal flood insurance program on May 30. This comes after the Senate approved the extension by voice vote the week before. While this vote will extend the National Flood Insurance Program until June 14, ongoing political conflicts have prevented the approval of a $19 billion bill that will cover a range of disaster aid programs. It includes a reauthorization of the flood program.
The delay has come because some Republican members of the House have blocked unanimous consent for the disaster aid bill by objecting as single members. This is happening even though the Republican-controlled Senate has already passed the legislation. With the two-week extension, the flood insurance program can continue to issue policies, a particularly critical measure as the hurricane season approaches. The House Republicans have justified their objections to the bill by saying that some members of Congress are not present in Washington. Despite the objections, the bill is expected to pass in June after the House returns to session on June 3. President Donald Trump has already announced that he will sign the legislation.
The dispute over the bill reflects an ongoing conflict over federal funds for disaster relief. Since 2017, the flood insurance program has been extended 10 times, but Congress has been unable to agree on a long-term extension. There are five million policyholders that depend on the federal policies, especially in states like Florida where flooding poses a particular threat.
Of course, hurricane damage is not limited to flooding, and homeowners also face uncertainty from their own insurance companies. Some Florida homeowners have seen their hurricane damage claims denied despite presenting extensive evidence. An insurance law attorney might work with homeowners to pursue the compensation they deserve from their insurers.