NU Online News Service, March 26, 3:56 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON--The National Flood Insurance Program will be allowed to expire once again, a victim of a feud between the House and Senate over proposed legislative changes for NFIP.
The Senate adjourned today without passing an enabling measure to keep the NFIP in business past Sunday, when the current enabling law expires.
Last week the House passed H.R. 4851, legislation containing the temporary flood program extension until April 30. That action created an impasse between the House bill and a Senate bill which contains a provision extending the NFIP until Dec. 31.
At the time of the House action talks were underway with the Senate over the substance of tax cuts that would be extended under the legislation containing the NFIP extension.
House members feel the flood program legislation should contain specific provisions they want for their constituents.
An NFIP extension until Dec. 31 is contained in another House bill (H.R. 4213) which extends a number of tax cut provisions that expired at the end of last year. It was passed by the Senate last week and sent back to the House for further action.
The latest House bill, as does the Senate bill, extends the eligibility for a 65 percent government subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums for laid-off workers. But the House extension would only be until April 30; the Senate bill extends the program until Dec. 31.
In reaction to the Senate's latest move, Matt Brady, a spokesman for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, said: "First it was a few hours, then a couple of days, and now we are looking at having the National Flood Insurance Program lapse for weeks--and each time for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the program itself."
Flood coverage will remain in place for those who have it now under guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which encompasses NFIP.
But, Mr. Brady warned, "this lapse could have a serious impact on those who are hoping to close on a home sale in the next few weeks. Once the program is reauthorized after Congress returns from recess, we hope lawmakers will take the time to enact a long-term extension with common-sense, bipartisan reforms that will ensure the financial stability of the NFIP."