Congress Backs Further Flood Insurance Borrowing; Sends Bill to Bush

February 15, 2006

As the fallout of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina continues in Washington, D.C. this week during Senate Committee hearings, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved and sent to President George W. Bush a bill to increase the borrowing authority of the government’s flood insurance program to $21.2 billion to handle claims from Hurricane Katrina and other storms, according to a Reuters report.

While the bill now awaits the President’s signature, some lawmakers warned they would not back increasing the borrowing authority again without first reforming the National Flood Insurance Program, which is directed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lawmakers indicated the amount approved this week would fund the flood insurance program through May, and vowed to look at the issue before then.

The U.S. Senate previously approved the additional borrowing authority, which had been capped at $18.5 billion.

Katrina, the nation’s worst natural disaster on record, resulted in more than 1,300 people dead in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, hundreds of thousands homeless and cost tens of billions of dollars in damages.

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