Congress Prepares Backup Bills To Extend Flood Insurance Program

May 12th, 2010 | By Hot News Reporter | Category: Insurance Today

The Senate has readied some backup legislation designed to ensure that the National Flood Insurance Program doesn’t lapse after its current authorization expires May 31.

The bill, S. 3347, was introduced last night on the Senate floor by Sen. David Vitter, R-La. It would extend the program until Dec. 31, giving Congress additional time to deal with a long-term extension.

Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, took the first procedural step Tuesday night to ensure that the Senate could pass the bill quickly if the Congress is unable to complete work by May 31 on omnibus bills containing the extension until Dec. 31, according to Blain Rethmeier, an American Insurance Association spokesman.

The program has lapsed twice in recent months because Congress was unable to pass bills to extend unemployment benefits, COBRA health insurance benefits and other programs, which had provisions for extension of the flood insurance program attached.

“Both the House and Senate now have free-standing bills to extend the NFIP through the end of this year,” Mr. Rethmeier said.

“This allows such legislation to be considered outside the context of the other “extenders” that will also expire on May 31st,” he said.

“Our message that lapses in the program are not good for anyone has been heard,” he said.

The House Financial Services Committee recently passed legislation reauthorizing the program for five years as well as reforming, amending and modernizing it.

But, the Senate Banking Committee has not had time to consider the issue because it has been spending its time crafting financial services reform legislation since last December. That bill is now on the Senate floor.

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