Great Falls Tribune: Tester calls to reauthorize flood insurance program

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and David Vitter, R-La., called on Senate leadership this week to allow a vote on legislation to extend the flood insurance program for another five years.

“Long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program will offer home and business owners the certainty they need to plan for the future,” Tester said Tuesday.

He and Vitter led a bipartisan group of 41 senators in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asking that the Senate move quickly on a bill to extend the flood insurance program, which expires at the end of May.

The program has been extended for short periods of time since 2008, with four lapses in 2010.

Congress created the flood insurance program in 1968 to provide affordable coverage. It remained solvent until 2005, but hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, along with Midwest flooding, drove it into debt. It covers 5.6 million households across the country.

“It has been estimated that those program lapses resulted in the delay or cancellation of more than 1,400 home closings per day, further damaging an already fragile housing market,” the senators wrote.

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