Two senators jump into flood insurance fray

Two U.S. senators are trying to garner bipartisan support for a permanent reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.

The federally backed program provides affordable flood insurance to homeowners living in at-risk communities.  

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and David Vitter, R-La., are holding a press conference in Washington Tuesday to advocate for the passage of a long-term flood insurance program.

Lawmakers passed a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program when it expired last year, but organizations like SmarterSafer — a national disaster policy planning program — are pushing for long-term reauthorization. The temporary extension expires on May 31, 2012.

“Temporary fixes only make the program more unstable. It is time for Congress to pass meaningful, long-term NFIP reform so the nation can promote hurricane safety and reduce the costly rebuilding that can often be prevented with proper preparation and planning,” said in a statement last year.

The NFIP was set to expire in November 2011, but Congress passed a short-term extension.

While the program has bipartisan support, it also has been criticized for landing $19 billion into debt.

Rep. Candice Miller, R.-Mich., proposed an amendment to a proposed flood insurance bill last year, saying the program should be ended altogether since it encourages people to repeatedly build in flood prone areas.

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