As Congress returns: Harvey supplemental funding, flood insurance reauth

The results of Hurricane Harvey’s historic landfall will certainly eclipse the combined economic and insurance losses associated with Hurricane Katrina, making it the costliest natural disaster in US history. Reports indicate that, in the short term, the House leadership is considering a down payment to ensure immediate needs are met. These types of “supplementals” often draw conservative ire because they are usually not offset by spending cuts elsewhere, as was the case with Hurricane Sandy, which battered the East Coast in 2012.

US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX5) has drafted a package of bills that reauthorizes the flood insurance program for five years. The package downsizes the program’s foot print, raises what policyholders pay and makes it easier for private companies to compete. GOP members from flood-prone districts have criticized this approach. To date the program is $24.6 billion in debt.

This seems to indicate a short-term extension past the September 30, 2017, expiration date.