Lawmakers introduce legislation to save federal flood insurance program

Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts as he looks at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after superstorm Sandy rolled through in Mantoloking, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012. JULIO CORTEZ/AP

Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts as he looks at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after superstorm Sandy rolled through in Mantoloking, N.J., Oct. 30, 2012. JULIO CORTEZ/AP

Lawmakers have introduced legislation to reauthorize the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program that is set to expire.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the bipartisan legislation Thursday along with Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

The National Flood Insurance Program, about $20 billion in debt, is set to expire on Nov. 30.

Administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it allows property owners to purchase affordable coverage to protect against floods.

[Related: The future of flood insurance rates up for debate in Congress]

The program has been under financial stress in recent years due to powerful hurricanes, prompting lawmakers to investigate reform solutions to keep it alive.

“The National Flood Insurance Program needs to be comprehensively reformed to make the program more fair, affordable, efficient and solvent, which is what my SAFE NFIP would do,” Menendez said. “But with the NFIP set to expire in about two weeks and no movement on the horizon, it’s critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable.”

The Trump administration has previously said it supports a short-term extension and longer-term reforms.

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