Amid Partisan Gridlock, Yet Another Short-Term Reprieve for Flood Insurance ~

Amid Partisan Gridlock, Yet Another Short-Term Reprieve for Flood Insurance~ Bogged down in partisan confrontation over taxes and spending, the U.S. Congress in October nearly allowed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to lapse. But in a last-minute compromise, lawmakers gave the program yet another in a long series of short-term reprieves, extending funding through November 18th. PropertyCasualty360 has this report (“NFIP Extended To Nov. 18; Real Work On Reforms Begins Now,” by Arthur D. Postal): “Early in the week of Sept. 26, as the House and Senate were scrambling to keep the government funded while legislators were leaving Washington in observance of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Senate approved two continuing resolutions: one for one week, and one until Nov. 18. Later that week, the House approved by unanimous consent the one-week continuing resolution, which contained an NFIP extension through Oct. 4. Most recently, on Oct. 4, with another deadline looming, the House voted 352-66 on the Nov. 18 continuing resolution, which includes a flood-program extension until that date.” Last year, the NFIP went through a series of temporary shutdowns as the Congress not only failed to pass long-term reforms, but was unable even to accomplish short-term re-authorizations in time to keep the program running. Shutdowns occurred in March (see “National Flood Insurance Program expires, slowing down sales of properties where flood policies are required,” by Rebecca Mowbray, New Orleans Times-Picayune), and again on May 31 (see “Congress' flood insurance lapse strands residents, home sales,” by Laura Green, Palm Beach Post). On September 23, Congress passed a one-year extension of the program’s funding (see “Congress backs 1-yr flood insure program extension,” by Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters). That’s the reauthorization that expired last month, forcing Congress to pass a four-day extension covering barely more than a weekend, and then the current one-month extension. Congressional leaders have promised to seek agreement on a five-year re-authorization that would include reforms intended to place the program on a more sound financial footing. Meanwhile, however, lawmakers remain far apart on how to address the needs of thousands of homeowners or renters whose houses were damaged or destroyed in this summer’s storm flooding — many of whom have no flood insurance coverage. A power boat sits stranded in the yard of a ruined home in Hickory Point, near Camp LeJeune, N.C., following Hurricane Irene's five-foot storm surge. Below, a house sits on cribbing during work to elevate the home as a precaution against future flooding. Funding for FEMA's disaster recovery efforts and efforts to revamp the nation's flood insurance program have bogged down in political bickering in Washington. Photos by Marilee Caliendo/FEMA