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NFIP Supporters Turn Up the Heat in the Senate

Attention in Congress is turning back to finishing efforts to reform and renew the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
February 7, 2012

Attention in Congress is turning back to finishing efforts to reform and renew the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP was last extended until May 31 on Dec. 23, when President Obama signed legislation sent to him by Congress Dec. 16.

Currently, Congress is closer to passing comprehensive flood insurance reform along with a five-year NFIP renewal than it has been in many years. Since 2002, there have been 15 last-minute reauthorizations of the NFIP. On four occasions, the program was allowed to lapse for extended periods of time and flood coverage could not be purchased or renewed for a total of 53 days. During the lapses, real estate deals in which flood insurance was required got delayed.

Last year in an example of rare, broad bipartisan agreement, the House passed the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 1309) to extend NFIP for a full five years and enact key reforms to put the program on a firm financial footing. The vote was 406-22. A similar bill was reported by the Senate Banking Committee. All that remains now is for the full Senate to act and then reconcile any differences between the bills.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), urging him to schedule floor debate on the flood bill. “The NFIP has not been reauthorized since 2004, and it’s set to expire in May,” Nelson wrote. “For a while now, the NFIP has continued thanks to a series of extensions. These threatened lapses in coverage threaten to jolt the fragile housing market in Florida by wreaking havoc with home sale closings.” Other letters are pending.

Read Nelson's letter to the Senate Leader: Sen. Bill Nelson Letter to Majority Leader Reid (2/1/2012)

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