Last week President Trump signed into law a funding bill to keep the federal government operational through December 15, 2017. The legislation raises the debt ceiling, extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and provides aid to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
For counties, the agreement ensures government funding will continue through the end of the year. The package also includes $15.25 billion for disaster relief, about half of which will flow through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the other half through community development block grants.
Extending NFIP, which was set to expire on September 30, is also a top county priority. Under this deal, the program will run through December 15 unless reauthorized. The last time Congress enacted a long-term reauthorization of NFIP was 2012, when lawmakers approved a five-year extension under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-141). Then in 2014, with NACo’s support, Congress passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (P.L. 113-89), which included several key reforms to the Biggert-Waters Act favorable to counties.
Because a short-term solution was reached for the debt limit, government funding and NFIP, and given the expected increase in disaster costs, Congress is not done addressing any of these issues for the year.