Today, Congress passed the “Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012,” which extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and makes reforms to the program. The reauthorization was included in a compromise deal that included the surface transportation reauthorization and the student loan bill. The House passed the measure early in the afternoon on a 373-52 vote. The Senate then passed the bill on vote of 74-19.

The NFIP has been caught in a cycle of short-term extensions and subsequent lapses since 2008, expiring four times in 2010 alone. The original bill was seen as failing to give proper credit to federal, state and local investments in levees and other flood control infrastructure. The proposal approved by the Banking Committee would have imposed land-use restrictions and mandated the purchase of insurance for all areas protected by a levee, including areas in the 500-year floodplain for a 500-year levee.

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