The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, House and Community Opportunity approved a measure that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through September 2016. The measure (HR 1309) was approved by the Subcommittee by a voice vote and will move on to be considered by the Full Committee before it moves to the House floor for a vote.
Lawmakers were anxious to get an early start on the reauthorization process which expires Sept. 30, 2011. The popular program lapsed for several days last Spring before Congress passed a short term extension. Congress has been forced to temporarily extend the program since the last long term resolution concluded in 2008. The House was able to pass a long term last summer but it got stalled before the Senate could act on the bill.
Part of the concerns lawmakers will be addressing in this reauthorization is the budget shortfall of the program that provides insurance to flood losses. Housed in FEMA, this program has been strained in recent years, especially after Hurricane Katrina raised the insurance claims. Because the program is about $17.5 billion in debt, efforts are being made in the measure to give the program better financial stability.