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According to the Miami Herald, FEMA has stopped issuing federal flood insurance policies, jeopardizing thousands of U.S. home sales. The decision is sparking discontent from lawmakers. “I strongly disagree with this guidance as it incorrectly interprets congressional intent demonstrated last week with Congress passing legislation to keep the program operating until June 2019,” said U.S. senator Marco Rubio. The state of Florida is now recommending that homeowners tap private insurance plans.

“As conversations surrounding the future of the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] continue, Commissioner Altmaier and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have continued urging homeowners to purchase private flood coverage through the 29 insurers eligible to write private primary personal residential flood insurance in Florida,” the agency said in a statement.

Shannon McGahan, senior vice president of governing affairs for the National Association of Realtors, called the freeze “abrupt and ill-conceived.” The group estimates that FEMA’s ruling will hold up tens of thousands of closings. “Last week, Congress passed legislation to fully reauthorize the NFIP through May,” McGahan said in a statement Wednesday. “However, today’s surprise FEMA ruling jeopardizes tens of thousands of home sales across America, as NAR estimates up to 40,000 closings are disrupted each month that the NFIP cannot issue flood insurance policies.”

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