May 30-- May 30--WASHINGTON -- The National Flood Insurance Program received a temporary reprieve on Thursday -- just one day before it was set to expire and after two previous attempts were thwarted.
Congress is on a week-long recess, but the U.S. House had attempted to pass the NFIP reauthorization in a procedural move that would not require a vote if no members objected.
House Republicans, who have been quarreling with Democratic leadership over an unrelated issue objected both times in the past week that it was brought up. On Thursday, they allowed a two-week NFIP safetynet proposal to pass through, but again blocked a $19 billion disaster aid package that includes an extension for the program through September, giving lawmakers more time to hash out a longer reauthorization.
The disaster aid package is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House when members return from the break on Monday.
"The NFIP is a safety net for millions of Americans, and we could not afford to let it lapse," U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, said after the NFIP extension cleared the House. "This is another short-term fix, but it buys us two weeks to keep the program functioning until we can pass a longer extension."
"We need to pass the disaster supplemental package as soon as possible to ensure the NFIP's viability as we enter hurricane season," he added.
U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Jefferson Republican, was in Louisiana visiting the State Capitol when the NFIP reauthorization passed.
"We don't want to see the flood insurance program lapse. It was about to," he said. "That's why it was so important that we got the short-term extension."
Scalise has suggested that a five-year extension could be worked out.
"Look, you see all around the country, Oklahoma and Arkansas are seeing massive floods right now," he said. "It seems to touch every part of the country. It's a program that's real important not just to Louisiana but families all across the nation."
Check back with The Advocate for more details.
Advocate State Capitol Bureau reporter Tyler Bridges contributed to this report.
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