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U.S. Senate Clears Way For Short NFIP Extension 60-34

Late Monday afternoon April 12, the U.S. Senate voted 60-34 to approve a bill to extend unemployment benefits which includes an extension of the National...
April 14, 2010

Late Monday afternoon April 12, the U.S. Senate voted 60-34 to approve a bill to extend unemployment benefits which includes an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through the end of April. The Monday vote is just a procedural vote that only brings the bill to the Senate floor. The next step is for the Senate to act on the extension itself; that's expected later this week.

The vote to end a Republican filibuster was 60 to 34, with Republicans Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and George V. Voinovich of Ohio siding with Democrats. Six senators did not vote. The final vote could still be days way.

When Congress adjourned for its spring break two weeks ago, a bill extending the authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) failed to pass. As a result of Congress' inaction in March, the federal flood insurance program's authority to write new policies ended on Sunday, March 28 at midnight. Until the program is reauthorized, no new policies can be written or renewals granted, but consumers with current flood insurance policies remain covered. Claims payments are not affected.

This NFIP extension is only through the end of April, meaning yet another extension bill would be needed within two weeks.  The Senate has already passed a bill with a longer NFIP extension, through the end of this year; the House has not acted on it. The House already approved the shorter extension, and will hold a hearing next week on a bill with a longer extension.

The House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 21 will address several natural catastrophe issues, including a markup of the Homeowners Defense Act (H.R. 2555). On April 22, the committee will discuss the Multiple Peril Insurance Act (H.R. 1264), a bill by Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) to add wind coverage to the flood insurance program and, separately, a longer flood insurance reauthorization paired with some reforms to the program. We understand that the latter bill may not include the addition of wind, but may provide for reauthorization for the remainder of this year.

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