January 15, 2014

House OKs spending bill with some NFIP premium delay

The House yesterday passed a 2014 appropriations package including a NAFCU-sought delay in some National Flood Insurance Program premium increases imposed under the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The legislation now goes to the Senate where action is expected by this weekend.

The one-year delay is provided in Section 572 of the package. Its inclusion was hailed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and played a leading role in getting the delay included.

The measure is a temporary fix for some properties that would see premium increases from new FEMA Flood maps, but a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, including Landrieu, and led by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), continues to seek a broader, more permanent fix in legislation currently being considered on the Senate Floor, S. 1846, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.

NAFCU is strongly urging a delay in the NFIP premium increases until a federally mandated affordability impact study it completed. The association has warned of the negative impact these increases will have on homeowners and local housing markets. It recommends halting the increases in flood insurance premiums until the affordability impact study can be reviewed.

The appropriations package also:

  • allows the NCUA Central Liquidity Facility full access to its statutory borrowing authority, which currently totals about $2 billion, to meet credit unions' emergency liquidity needs;
  • provides $1.2 million for technical assistance grants to low-income credit unions from the NCUA Community Development Revolving Loan Fund; and
  • provides $226 million for the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
  • Credit unions with NCUA's low-income designation qualify to seek grants and assistance from both funds.

Both the House and Senate have passed a three-day stopgap bill to give lawmakers time to complete the larger package and avoid another federal government shutdown.