Federal Flood Insurance Could Be Extended Until End of June

May 16, 2012

The House is expected to vote today on an extension of the federal flood insurance program until the end of June but the fate of program in the Senate is still uncertain.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is now scheduled to expire on May 31 unless both houses of Congress act to reauthorize it.

Congress has approved more than a dozen short-term extensions of NFIP over the past several years while continuing to debate more comprehensive changes to the debt-ridden program.

The House has passed comprehensive reform legislation including a five-year re-authorization of the NFIP but the Senate has been unable to move forward with a measure.

The House has scheduled a vote on up H.R. 5740, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act, sometime today. The bill extends the NFIP through the end of June without making any other changes to the program.

However in the Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn, R.-Okla., who supports the program, is opposing another short-term extension. He is insisting that if the Senate can’t agree on long-term solution at this time, it should at least agree on one key reform: an end to NFIP’s premium subsidies for owners of high-value and vacation homes.

“I don’t object to the five-year authorization but another short-term extension isn’t what this country needs,” Coburn said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D.-Nev., said he agreed with Coburn that the reform legislation and extension are important but he said the problem has been a rush by both parties to add “irrelevant” amendments to any bill that comes up. He said he does not want the Senate to get bogged down debating irrelevant amendments because it has other business including a farm bill and cyber security measures to address.

Coburn said he would work with Republicans to try to limit the number of amendments to any flood insurance extension bill to one or two that are focused on ending premiums subsidies.

Reid agreed he would work with Democrats to also limit amendments to those that are “cogent” and they would discuss the extension again on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

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