The House and Senate banking committees are rushing to provide additional borrowing authority for the cash-strapped federal flood insurance program, which suspended paying claims to homeowners on Nov. 11.The National Flood Insurance Program has exhausted its $3.5 billion line of credit with the Treasury, and the House Financial Services Committee has approved a flood insurance reform bill that would provide $18.5 billion in additional borrowing authority. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the NFIP, has estimated that hurricanes Katrina and Rita will generate $22 billion in flood insurance claims. Meanwhile, Senate Banking Committee members are working with Senate leaders to pass a quick fix for the flood program, but they have not settled on the amount of the additional borrowing authority. After this weekend, Congress will adjourn for Thanksgiving and return to the Capitol on Dec. 5.

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