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National flood insurance program expires Sept. 30

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The National Flood Insurance Program expires in 11 days. The program is $18 billion in debt yet supported by industry professionals who say flooding from Hurricane Irene once again exemplifies the need for Congress to extend the program. As it stands now, the program, which provides affordable flood insurance to homeowners living in certain at-risk areas, is set to expire Sept. 30. The Senate Banking Committee green lighted its own version of a bill to extend the presence of national flood insurance for another few years, while the House passed a bill earlier this year reauthorizing the program for another five years. The program has received some push back from lawmakers who believe it subsidizes risky home building and construction and is already burdened by debt. Smarter Safer, a coalition focused on dealing with national catastrophes, sent a note to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "While we believe the bill could be strengthened, the Banking Committee has taken a needed step to reforming the nation's flood insurance program and Smarter Safer joins a range of stakeholder groups in applauding this legislation." In the summer, the American Land Title Association urged Congress to ensure flood insurance is still available in the near future. "Without affordable coverage, homeowners will be unable to protect their largest investment leaving taxpayers on the hook for reconstruction costs," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, CEO of the trade group. "More than 5.6 million American families depend on the NFIP as their only source of protection against economic devastation of a flood. By providing this affordable protection, the NFIP guides future development decisions and facilitates real estate transactions and our economy.” Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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