Senate panel passes flood insurance bill
MARIA RECIO - McClatchy Newspapers
The excerpt is from the Miami Herald
As storm-soaked parts of the country reel from rains and floods, the Senate Banking Committee moved quickly Thursday to approve a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires Sept. 30.
"It is reassuring to see that in today's often-toxic political environment it is still possible to put politics aside and work together in the interest of the American people," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D.
The House of Representatives already has approved a bill, and Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., the chairwoman of the House panel on insurance, said reaching a consensus before the program expired was "absolutely vital, especially during hurricane season."
Industry and environmental groups associated with SmarterSafer.org, a group largely funded by the insurance industry, also praised the bill's committee passage.
"The new rate structure in this bill provides a market force to move development to higher ground and out of harm's way, while protecting valuable ecosystem services at the same time," said Joshua Saks, the senior legislative representative for water at the National Wildlife Federation.