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Ms. WATERS. I'd like to thank Representative Scott for his leadership on this issue. I'd like to thank Chairman Bachus for his support for all of the work that has gone into flood insurance reform.
I rise today in support of H.R. 5740, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2012. But more than anybody, I'd like to thank Representative Biggert for her hard work on this bill and flood insurance reform, and I'm pleased to cosponsor this legislation.
While this bill, by no means, is a substitute for the comprehensive set of reforms included in H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act, a bipartisan bill which passed the House last year, I believe that we must act to pass this bill so that the flood insurance program does not lapse.
The flood insurance program provides valuable protection for approximately 5.5 million homeowners. Unfortunately, the lack of a long-term authorization has placed the program at risk. The program lapsed three times in 2010. These lapses meant FEMA was not able to write new policies, renew expiring policies, or increase coverage limits. Given the current crisis in the housing market, this instability in the flood insurance program is hampering that market's recovery and must be addressed.
The current authorization for the flood insurance program expires on May 31. The next day, hurricane season begins. It is irresponsible to have our Nation's homeowners vulnerable to flooding at any time, but to allow such a lapse during hurricane season is especially troubling.
Even though this bill only extends the program for 30 days, I hope that this brief window will give our counterparts in the Senate enough time to pass their flood insurance reform bill so that this program has all of the resources it needs to fully serve homeowners and the communities in which they live.
I strongly urge an ``aye'' vote on this bill in the hope that the next flood insurance bill we vote on is a comprehensive reauthorization bill.
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