Today on the Hill: Flood Insurance Reauthorization Hits Snag on House Floor

The House’s planned legislative schedule for the week has faced its first hiccup due to an intraparty divide among Republicans over a short-term reauthorization (S.1182) for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A vote on the planned reauthorization for the program was pulled from the House’s suspension calendar yesterday due to differences between House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), with the former arguing that another stopgap measure for the program was financially unsustainable. The program — which is set to expire on July 31 — is $20 billion in debt and has been subject to intense bipartisan negotiations over a long-term reauthorization and reform bill, but those discussions have not advanced sufficiently to avoid the need for a short-term extension at the end of the month. The short-term reauthorization is on the House’s suspension calendar again today, but it remains unclear whether the Republican lawmakers will reach an agreement before this afternoon’s scheduled vote series. Given that the program expires July 31, flood insurance reauthorization is considered a must-pass bill for the House before it recesses at the end of the week.

Today’s House docket also includes two additional health care bills after a measure repealing the medical device tax passed yesterday. Those bills would specifically: (1) aim to boost the use of health savings accounts (HSAs) by allowing funds from those accounts to be used for more over-the-counter medications and other medical and lifestyle supplies (H.R. 6199); and (2) attempt to increase access to lower premium plans by adjusting the definition of qualified health plans to allow tax credits to be used to purchase a copper plan in the individual market (H.R. 6311). Both were approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on near party-line votes in a markup last week. 

Meanwhile, the Senate aims to continue its methodical pace on a four-bill appropriations minibus that was initially brought to the Senate floor yesterday. Today, two roll call votes are expected on amendments, namely relating to Amtrak (SA #3414) and grain inspections conducted by the Department of Agriculture (SA #3433).