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Senate votes May extension for flood insurance
WASHINGTON (12/9/11)--Legislation that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31 has been approved in the U.S. Senate by a voice vote, and is now awaits a House vote.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). A House vote on the legislation has not been scheduled yet. The NFIP has been funded by short-term resolutions for some time, and unless the House approves the extension and it is then signed into law by President Barack Obama, the program currently set to expire on Dec. 16.

The NFIP is important to credit unions because the mortgages they write for properties in a floodplain are required to have flood insurance.

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said CUNA supports and appreciates the Senate action backing even a short-term extension, and encourages the House to pass the bill quickly.

"However, we also think it is important that Congress consider a long term extension of this program to provide stability and predictability," he added.

Democrats and Republicans, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and ranking minority member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), have said the NFIP is in need of reform. The NFIP has been on the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) high-risk list since 2006, when the program had to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to cover losses from the 2005 hurricanes, and its outstanding debt and operational and management challenges have kept it there.

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