House Financial Services Committee Advances Flood Insurance Reauthorization and Other Housing-Related Bills
On June 12, the House Financial Services Committee advanced a series of housing-related measures, including bills to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), make FHA single-family loans more affordable and sustainable, and block HUD from implementing proposed rules that would bar families with mixed immigration status from housing assistance and alter HUD’s Equal Access Rule.
The Committee unanimously passed legislation (the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019, H.R. 3167) to reauthorize the NFIP for five years through FY 2024. The bill, which represents a compromise between Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC), makes several amendments to the NFIP, including changes by Waters to make flood insurance more affordable for low- and moderate-income households.
Specifically, H.R. 3167 creates a demonstration program to provide financial assistance to low-income policyholders, repeals certain program surcharges, and allows policyholders to make monthly instead of annual payments.
The bill also works to promote the private flood insurance market by allowing those who leave the NFIP and purchase a private policy to return to the NFIP without a penalty, increases investments in flood mapping and mitigation, and establishes a new program by which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would provide grants to states that set up revolving loan funds to finance various flood mitigation projects. NFIP’s current reauthorization expires on September 30. Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-ID) has said that reauthorizing the NFIP is a key priority for the Committee this year.
The House Financial Services Committee also:
- Unanimously advanced the National Flood Insurance Program Administration Reform Act of 2019, H.R. 3111. Introduced by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), this legislation reforms the process by which NFIP beneficiaries can appeal their insurance claims.
- Advanced by a bipartisan vote of 53-6 a bill introduced by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), The Housing Financial Literacy Act of 2019, H.R. 2162, to reduce by .25 percent the upfront FHA insurance premiums for homebuyers who complete financial literacy counseling.
- Advanced via party-line vote The Homeownership for DREAMers Act, H.R. 3154, introduced by Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA). This bill clarifies that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients cannot be denied mortgage loans backed by FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture solely on the basis of their DACA status.
- Advanced via party-line vote legislation introduced by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), the FHA Loan Affordability Act of 2019, H.R. 3141, repealing the requirement, first enacted in 2013, that FHA borrowers pay mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan. Borrowers would no longer have to pay FHA insurance once the outstanding principal balance of the loan reaches 78 percent of the original home value
- Advanced via party-line vote the Keeping Families Together Act of 2019, H.R. 2763, introduced by Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). The bill would prohibit HUD from implementing a proposed rule to terminate housing assistance for families with mixed immigration status. As NCSHA previously reported, HUD is seeking comments on the proposed rule until July 7.
- Advanced via party-line vote the Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act of 2019, H.R. 3018, introduced by Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), to block HUD from implementing a proposed rule that allows shelter providers to deny transgender and gender non-conforming people equal access to homeless shelters, altering HUD’s Equal Access Rule. Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) called the legislation premature as HUD only announced the proposed rule and has not yet released it for public comment.