Flood program to run dry without congressional action: FEMA
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The flood insurance program will run out of money to pay claims for Hurricane Sandy and other disasters in coming days unless Congress lets it borrow more funds, the national emergency agency said on Thursday.
The warning from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came a day ahead of a vote by the House of Representatives on a $9 billion payment on storm-related support for the National Flood Insurance Program.
House Speaker John Boehner reversed course and scheduled Friday's vote after fellow Republicans from states hit hard by the October 29 storm slammed him for failing to bring the payment up for a vote earlier this week.
FEMA has told Congress that unless its borrowing ceiling was raised, "funds available to pay claims will be exhausted sometime around the week of January 7, 2013," the agency said in a one-sentence statement.
The FEMA program is essentially the only U.S. flood insurer for residences. It has a $20.8 billion ceiling for borrowing authority.
FEMA estimated Sandy-related flood losses of $6 billion to $12 billion in November, far beyond its cash and $3 billion in untapped borrowing authority.
The House will hold a second vote on January 15 on the $51 billion remainder of the $60 billion Sandy disaster aid package approved by the Senate last week.
Putting more money into the program would come months after President Barack Obama signed a law aimed at improving its finances. Congress bailed out the program after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and it is $18 billion in debt.
Sandy, the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, devastated the northeastern United States, with New York and New Jersey the hardest-hit states.
- White House reverses, says Obama met uncle and lived with him during law school
- Flights delayed as air pollution hits record in Shanghai
- South Africa mourns Mandela, will bury him on December 15 |
- RPT-UPDATE 1-Ford leans on global Mustang to burnish overseas image
- Analysis: Boeing bidders dangle goodies to win 777X jetliner
Nelson Mandela: 1918 - 2013
Reuters looks at the life and times of Nelson Mandela, an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world. Video