The House today approved a $36.5 billion emergency spending package that includes $18.7 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund. The relief bill would also help the hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and assist the wildfire relief efforts in California.
In addition, the bill specifically earmarks $16 billion to cancel the existing debt of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is dealing with the devastating destruction in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. By buying down a portion of the NFIP debt, this would allow FEMA to borrow additional funds from the Treasury without asking Congress to raise the borrowing authority for the flood insurance program.
In a win for NAHB, the bill does not include a proposal put forth by the Office of Management and Budget that would phase out new NFIP policies for newly-constructed homes.
This additional relief package comes after Congress had already approved $15 billion in emergency aid for Florida and Texas, which were hammered by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The $15 billion aid package was approved before Maria battered Puerto Rico.
The Senate is expected to approve the $36.5 billion disaster relief package in the near future.