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Blocked bill prevents homeowners from getting flood insurance

Also leads to furloughs, loss of unemployment benefits

The leading source of flood insurance is temporarily unavailable, due to disagreements on Capitol Hill.

Jim Bunning, a Republican senator from Kentucky, blocked passage of legislation that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program, citing unclear funding. Unemployment benefits remain in limbo until new measures are passed.

The bill also extended funding for highway and transit programs. Its blockage caused the Department of Transportation to stall 41 projects and offer furloughs to about 2,000 workers, according to a report by ABC News.

“I support extending unemployment benefits, COBRA benefits, flood insurance, highway bill fix, doc fix, small business loans, distant network television for satellite viewers,” Bunning said in a speech. “But if we can’t find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of this U.S. Senate.”

NFIP, which is operated through the Federal Emergency Management Program, would not be able to offer new policies, increase coverage, renew policies or pay claims until reauthorized by Congress. An earlier bulletin from the program said such a lapse would not affect the 5.6 million homeowners protected by the program.

As flood season approaches, many state officials through the Midwest, Mississippi and Florida recently advised homeowners to purchase flood insurance.ADNFCR-2378-ID-19644227-ADNFCR

Posted: March 1, 2010

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