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Clock is Ticking on NFIP Renewal

Congress doesn’t return to work until April 16, but there is no action yet scheduled on flood insurance
April 10, 2012

Congress doesn’t return to work until April 16, but there is no action yet scheduled on flood insurance. That, despite the fact that the current authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expires on May 31 – one day before the start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season.

The hold-up is in the Senate. The House has already passed H.R. 1309, a bill reforming the NFIP and extending it for five years, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote. The Senate Banking Committee has followed suit, reporting out a bipartisan bill; but that bill has yet to be scheduled for floor debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn’t indicated whether he will call the bill up before the flood insurance program expires.

There have been 15 short-term extensions of the NFIP since 2002, and Congress allowed the program to lapse four times for extended periods. In 2010 alone, the NFIP lapsed four separate times and flood insurance could not be purchased for a total of 53 days.

“Permitting yet more uncertainty regarding the availability of flood insurance with another hurricane season starting is unwise,” said Mike Becker, assistant vice president of federal affairs of PIA National. “Another expiration of the NFIP would delay real estate closings at a time when our nation is struggling sustain an economic recovery. Since there is broad, bipartisan support for finally enacting comprehensive reform along with a five-year extension of the flood insurance program, we urge the Senate to finish the job.”

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