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Senate Passes Government Funding Bill, Big ‘I’-Supported Policies Included

The U.S. Senate passed legislation funding the government through Dec. 16, reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and including the Big “I"-supported “Hermit's Peak Fire Assistance Act.”
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senate passes government funding bill, big ‘i’-supported policies included

This week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would fund the government through Dec. 16. The legislation would also reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the same period and included the Big “I"-supported “Hermit's Peak Fire Assistance Act."

The legislation is projected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives later this week and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline. The enactment of this short-term federal government funding legislation until after the mid-term elections is meant to give federal policymakers more time to complete negotiations on an agreement to fund the federal government into 2023. 

Although there is widespread agreement that a long-term reauthorization of a reformed NFIP is needed, allowing the program to lapse during hurricane season would be devastating to policyholders across the nation who are seeing an increasing number of severe flooding events in recent years.

The first priority for the Big “I" is to avoid a lapse in the program. Moving forward, the association looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to enact a long-term reauthorization of a modernized program that would increase take-up rates for flood insurance, both in the NFIP and in the private market.

The government funding package also included the “Hermit's Peak Fire Assistance Act." In April, the Hermit's Peak Fire merged with the Calf Canyon Fire to create the largest wildfire in New Mexico's history. The wildfires started from an approved prescribed fire planned by the U.S. Forest Service in the Santa Fe National Forest. The federal government has accepted responsibility for the wildfire.

This legislation would establish an Office of Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Claims within FEMA which would receive, process and pay claims in accordance with the act. Importantly, the legislation would authorize full compensation for New Mexico residents and business owners for losses caused by the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fire.

Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.