WASHINGTON (7/31/09)—The House agreed by voice vote to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through March 31, 2010. The program was set to expire on Sept. 30. The House bill (H.R. 3139), introduced earlier this month by Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), also would give permanent authority to the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance to any state or community. That power was first granted on a temporary basis. Waters is chairwoman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing and Frank is chairman of the parent committee. Frank and Waters have said they also plan to engage the Obama administration and FEMA officials in a reform process, to update the flood insurance program that was created in 1968. Currently, the NFIP provides over one trillion dollars of flood insurance to more than five and a half million American homes and businesses.