President Bush has signed a bill that extends the flood insurance program for five years and avoids a shutdown of the National Flood Insurance Program.The Federal Emergency Management Agency's authority to issue flood insurance policies was due to expire after June 30. The bill (S. 2238) extends the flood insurance program for five years and creates a new $40 million pilot program that is designed to reduce the cost of insurance claims on properties that are repeatedly hit by floods. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, congratulated the original sponsors of the bill, Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., for their efforts in fashioning the bill and for the bipartisan effort that led to its passage. "The reforms set out in this law fortify the original intent of the NPIF while preventing unacceptable expenses to the taxpayers," Rep. Oxley said.

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