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The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation that keeps the government – and the federal flood insurance program– running until Nov. 18, 2011.

The House vote (352-66) extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until Nov. 18. The Senate passed the budget funding legislation last week.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign it today.

The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America praised the vote.

“It is vital to our economy that there not be any interruption in the NFIP, and today’s action thankfully ensures that Congress will have more time to consider their long-term extension and reform efforts,” said Charles Symington, IIABA senior vice president of government affairs.

The House and Senate are currently working on legislation that would extend the program for five years and make needed reforms to the program. The House passed its version of the legislation in July and the Senate Committee on Banking has passed a version. But the bill must still be considered by the full Senate.

Then, once the Senate passes its legislation, the two branches will still have to agree on a final bill, noted the agents’ group.

“Today’s action buys Congress more time for work on the long-term reform and extension effort,” said John Prible, IIABA vice president of federal government affairs. “We now urge Senate leadership to quickly bring the reform bill to the full Senate floor for consideration to allow the House and Senate enough time to reconcile their two bills. We are now closer to achieving a long-term reform and extension bill than at any point in recent memory and we urge Congressional leadership to finally push this over the finish line.”

Insurers are also pushing for both branches to pass long-term legislation.

“This series of short-term patches underscores the need for a long-term reauthorization for the flood program,” said Ben McKay, senior vice president of federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“Both bills carry strong, bipartisan support and market-based provisions for a more stable NFIP over the long-term. Our priority is a long-term NFIP extension,” McKay said.

Posted 12:12 PM

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