Senator’s bid for standalone NFIP extension through end of year fails

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UPDATE: View the latest on the NFIP extension.

For the second time in two months, a Louisiana senator has lost his bid to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through a standalone bill and not a comprehensive reform package.

David Vitter

On May 11, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced S 3347, a bill to extend the NFIP through Dec. 31, 2010, which would have provided funding to the federal program past its upcoming May 31 expiration date.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, however, reported that on May 21, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) objected to the measure, citing the need to use legislation to extend a package of programs like the NFIP, as has been done in the past. Vitter said he was “saddened” by the objection, according to the newspaper.

The same thing happened in April when Vitter proposed another standalone bill to extend the NFIP through May 31, just before Congress took action as part of a comprehensive $18 billion unemployment and health benefits bill extended the program to that very deadline.

Vitter’s attempts to extend the program outside of the package legislation failed after Democrats blocked it on the Senate floor.

“The NFIP extension would have no impact on deficit and debt,” said Vitter after that bill (S 3203) was defeated. “So my suggestion was pretty simple. Let’s take the NFIP extension out of the deficit spending bill. Why stall the flood insurance extension because of this broader debate about continued deficit spending by the majority? There should be no objection to extending flood insurance. Everybody’s for the program. It doesn’t increase the deficit and debt, but unfortunately there was an objection from the Democrat chairman.”

With the program a week away from expiring, the U.S. House of Representatives is proposing another short-term extension for the program, through September, while the Senate’s measure to extend the program through Dec. 30 in another benefits package has stalled due to debates over tax cuts.

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