WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Harvey and Irma have come and gone and left destruction in their wake.
Now these residents are turning to our nation’s flood insurance program for help. But funding is in jeopardy.
“The program is in debt right now," Phetmano Phannavong, DC Floodplain Manager at the Department of Energy and Environment said.
The program is $25 billion in debt according to Phannavong. He helps people in the DC are sign up for coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program. But with the program running out of money because of recent natural disasters. With a fast approaching expiration date, he worries about what people in this community will do.
“We would lose about 400 million dollars in flood insurance through the program," he added.
Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. More than 22 thousand communities across the United States participate. Congress just extended the expiration deadline to December, but there’s disagreement as to what do do after that.
“I’ve been working on this for the last five months on a re-authorization bill that also gives us reform. It’s a program that’s 24 billion dollars in debt we run a deficit of 1.5 billion dollars a year," Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI-7) said.
Duffy said he wants to see the private sector invest more in flood insurance instead of putting the burden on the federal government. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that just won’t do. He fears private insurers would rip off homeowners.
“It will charge $20,000 a year which an average middle class person can’t afford. So we need the federal government involved it has to be a mean, smart program," Schumer said.
While Duffy and Schumer disagree on how to update the program,
They both agree it needs to be renewed and fast.