Tester pushes for long-term flood insurance reauthorization

Senator says bipartisan measure will provide certainty for Montana homeowners

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is urging fellow lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation to improve and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program and provide certainty for Montana homeowners.

Tester says the measure reforms flood insurance to better protect taxpayers and places the initiative on better financial footing.  Tester, a national leader on flood insurance reform, is leading a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in calling on the Senate leaders to schedule a vote on the flood insurance reauthorization bill.

“Long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program will offer home and business owners the certainty they need to plan for the future,” Tester said.  “We have a responsibility to meet taxpayers’ needs, and this bipartisan plan will put flood insurance on firmer financial footing and spur our economy.”

The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968 and last reauthorized in 2004.  A recent short term lapse in the program reportedly delayed or cancelled more than 1,400 home closings per day over 53 days in 2010.  The program is scheduled to expire again on May 31.

Tester today teamed up with Senator David Vitter (R-La.) at a news conference to highlight the importance of long-term flood insurance reauthorization for Americans.  Tester highlighted how insurance lapses created uncertainty and economic burdens for several businesses in Kalispell.

“At a time when the housing market is still fragile, this is something that we cannot afford,” Tester said at the conference.

Tester added that last year’s unprecedented flooding along the Missouri River basin demonstrated ‘a clear need’ for flood insurance reauthorization and levee recertification.  Tester and Vitter included a requirement in their bill forcing the Army Corps and FEMA to develop common standards for levee certification.

Tester and Vitter this week pushed Senate leadership to schedule a vote on flood insurance reauthorization soon, saying that their measure had ‘overwhelming bipartisan support.’  The Senate Banking Committee approved the measure last September.

Tester and Vitter’s letter to Senate leadership is available online HERE.

Video of Tester and Vitter’s news conference is available online HERE.