Flood program to run dry without congressional action: FEMA

WASHINGTON Thu Jan 3, 2013 6:58pm EST

A group of people walk past homes damaged by superstorm Sandy two months after the storm caused extensive damage in the Queens borough region of Belle Harbor, New York, December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A group of people walk past homes damaged by superstorm Sandy two months after the storm caused extensive damage in the Queens borough region of Belle Harbor, New York, December 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (24)
Ayuh wrote:
60 Billion Dollars…let’s see: If we stack $1000 bills on top of each other, 60 billion would make a wall of bills 30 feet long, and the wall would reach 50 feet higher than the Washington Monument. Yes, I said $1000 bills. My God, that’s a lot of money!

Jan 02, 2013 8:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sandman839 wrote:
This is what happens when you are more concerned about your wealthy donors and not your constituents. There is no reason that the people affected by Sand should still be waiting for the help.

Jan 02, 2013 8:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
seren37 wrote:
I liked Ike. The GOP used to be the sensible and admirable party of Eisenhower, who won WWII, helped build the Interstate, Industry, and the Middle Class, warned us about the military-industrial complex (which eats Most of our tax), and championed a compassionate safety net. I’d vote for Ike again in a minute.

But the GOP welcomed the “nutters” and “haters” into their bosom. Alas, the GOP didn’t seem to grasp that although our Constitution is built on fair play and compromise, nutters and haters don’t understand either. All they know is holding their breath until they turn blue. Boehner should lock Cantor and his Teepers in a room while the adults debate and vote. Preferably a room deprived of oxygen.

Funny, when Bush gave huge tax breaks to the rich, started an unfunded war based on lies, in Iraq, and along with the Banksters wrecked the economy, the GOP didn’t complain. All they do is hate on the poor, who Jesus loved, because Rush Pigbaugh says to. Most people who are out of work Want Jobs, not rightwing hooey and hate. And the small aid those who have lost their jobs get, is Not the major cause of our deficit.

The GOP also wouldn’t complain if the South had a disaster and needed aid. You have to realize the Teepers Want the “gummint” to fail. They hate that “Muslim Kenyan Socialist Nonwhite Traitor” President. Most of them are Southern or Midwest transplants who want a do-over of the Civil War by destroying the “gummint” so the South can rise again in all its minimum-wage glory. Many of them are survivalists who are literally praying for the nation to collapse so they can sit on their pile of stored food and shoot their neighbors.

And it really is true that the NE Gives more than it gets from the Federal Government, while the red states that pretend to hate the government, take more than they give. If they hate our government (which is us since it was a democracy last I looked) let them stop TAKING.

Democrats,unfortunately, are mealymouthed about these scuzzballs. It took Republicans from Joisey and the Big Apple to tell it like it is ;’)

Jan 02, 2013 8:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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