There’s no other grassroots organization in the country that can mobilize like REALTORS®. We saw the power of our unmatched operation in action as a government shutdown loomed at the end of September – and with it, the potential for a devastating lapse of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
NAR launched a massive advocacy blitz, which included a rare nationwide call for action, and Congress passed a last-minute spending deal on Saturday, September 30, to avert a government shutdown and extend the NFIP. The bipartisan agreement funds the government at 2023 levels through November 17.
The call for action went live on Friday evening, September 29, as Congress careened toward the first government shutdown in almost five years. In the urgent message, the association mobilized its 1.5 million members to contact Congress and warn of the dangers of letting the NFIP lapse during a shutdown, noting that an extended lapse could threaten 1,300 real estate transactions per day.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck call for action. Join your fellow REALTORS® in urging Congress to extend the NFIP, preventing disruption to real estate markets and protecting families from the costliest and most common natural disaster in the country: flooding,” the message read. “A lapse of the NFIP would disrupt the purchase of flood insurance in more than 20,000 communities nationwide. Just one inch of flooding can cause $25,000 in structural damage, and without access to flood insurance, families must rely on severely limited federal disaster aid.”
By Saturday morning, tens of thousands of REALTORS® nationwide had already answered the call. State and local associations urged participation among their members on social media. Members of Congress even contacted NAR’s advocacy team directly to confirm they had seen our message and that the NFIP extension was part of the legislation on the floor.
The national effort capped a week of action by REALTORS®. NAR issued a targeted call to action on the NFIP earlier in the week through its Federal Political Coordinator program, which aimed to reach and educate all 535 members of Congress with an urgent message on the NFIP’s critical role in the economy.
“The NFIP’s authority to write flood insurance has been extended 25 times since 2017 alone,” NAR’s Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn said. “This is largely due to NAR’s advocacy efforts on NFIP.”
NAR also issued a primer for members detailing how a shutdown would affect the real estate sector, which makes up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. economy. The primer looks at how a range of government programs would be affected, from EPA wetlands designations to rural housing programs and the EB-5 Visa program.
“We are thankful Congress came together in a bipartisan way to avert this shutdown, but our work isn’t over. This is a short-term extension, and we will be right back here in November,” McGahn said in a Breaking News alert to all members immediately following the Senate vote. “We are keeping our call for action active and will continue to work with congressional leaders during the next 45 days to ensure NFIP is reauthorized for a longer period of time and does not suffer a harmful lapse. We have been through this before, and one thing is certain: In a shutdown, no one wins.”
State and local associations can continue to encourage their members to participate in the call for action by sharing this link on the REALTOR® Party website.
If your association is interested in launching a call for action to your members on a crucial issue, the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program can help. Read more about this great resource.