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Members of state's congressional delegation want long-term flood insurance re-authorization

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Two members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation said they too are tired of the short-term extensions of the critical flood insurance program.

The latest extension is set to expire during the volatile 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

If local property owners were not convinced of the importance of flood coverage before Hurricane Katrina, many are now well aware of the value of it.

Still, over the past year, Congress has not found a way to extend the National Flood Insurance Program by more than mere months at a time.

"Congress needs to find a long-term solution on flood insurance,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Metairie.

The NFIP faced a September 2017 expiration but Congress extended until December, followed by another short-term extension.

Last week through the Omnibus Appropriations bill it was extended again until July 31, 2018. So unless there is further congressional action the program which provides flood coverage for millions would expire during hurricane season.

Scalise said the program needs long-term reauthorization to give policyholders more peace of mind.

"For a long period of time, not just a few months like we've been able to do, not patches but a real long-term, five-year reauthorization…So that we remove the uncertainty with this program. We need to make sure it's affordable and accessible for families in Louisiana and fair to the taxpayers of the country. We passed a bill that will do that in the House and if the Senate can do an even better job I encourage them to get to work and pass a bill to make that happen,” said Rep. Scalise.

The flood insurance program remains in debt after catastrophic flooding events in the U.S. and some in Congress want to substantially increase rates for people in high-risk areas.

But members of the state’s congressional delegation said rates must remain affordable.

"We've got good reforms that will make it more affordable, more accountable, more sustainable and we're working to make that happen,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana.

Cassidy said he is working on legislation toward that end.

"Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York and I are collaborating on the bill. John Kennedy and another senator from New Jersey have collaborated on a similar bill. We're trying to get that pushed forward. We think there's an opportunity. It's not over until it's over,” Sen. Cassidy said.

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