Flood Buyouts

In this photo taken May 21, 2019, Robert Collins, left, and Bobby Joe Branston watch rising waters in the Fishing River from a condemned bridge in the small community of Mosby, Mo. Federal and local governments have poured more than $5 billion into buying tens of thousands of private properties over the past few decades to try to diminish the long-term costs of repeated floods. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) ORG XMIT: MOCR212

For a long time, proponents of the National Flood Insurance Program — well represented among Louisiana’s delegation for obvious reasons — had to work around a Republican Congressman from Texas. Jeb Hensarling was chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and until he retired at the beginning of the year, he was the most powerful skeptic of a government program that provides often-subsidized coverage that the private market does not offer.

It turns out that a different congressman, a freshman from the same state, is now causing problems. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, single-handedly blocked passage of a $19 billion disaster relief bill late last week when he refused to go along with a fast-track procedure to pass the bill after many lawmakers had left for the weeklong Memorial Day holiday.

That drew howls of protest over the delay of badly needed relief for Americans who’ve been hit by hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

And it also, once again, threw the short-term functionality of the flood insurance program into doubt just days before the 2019 hurricane season is set to begin.

Stephanie Grace: Next Congress looking for a bipartisan success? Flood insurance could be the answer

NFIP reauthorization caught in fight over disaster aid bill; House expected to pass before program lapses

The bill that Roy blocked included a provision that would have extended the NFIP, which is set to expire May 31, for four months.

Something could still work out, proponents say, but there’s one big impediment: the full Congress won’t return to work until June.


Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.