Posted on 03 Mar 2010
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), whose funding expired on Feb. 28, has been extended to March 28.
This extension is the latest in a series of short-term extensions by Congress. The U.S. Senate approved the NFIP's extension and President Barack Obama signed it into law late last night.
The one-month extension had been caught in a political battle since Feb. 25, when the U.S. House of Representatives approved the extension of the NFIP by voice vote.
In the Senate, the $10 billion federal spending bill, which also extends benefits to the unemployed and some federal highway projects, was delayed when Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) balked, saying he could not support a bill that added to the federal deficit. Late March 2, Bunning relented, allowing the bill to go to a vote, where it passed, 78-19.
The NFIP has been in the precarious position of losing its funding before, four times in 2009 alone, but never has Congress allowed the program to expire.
Without funding, the NFIP could not write new policies or renew existing policies for property owners, or pay claims. The delay in the extension also meant “short-term problems” for property owners waiting to close on a property within a Special Flood Hazard Zone, according to a statement from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, issued earlier in the day March 2.