Stupidity is what will kill this country. Financed real estate transactions cannot occur in some parts of the country without flood insurance being purchased on the structure. Such insurance is difficult to find in the private market. As a result, the National Flood Program exists. But, it can only exist if Congress allows it, and Congress has left for its Easter vacation without passing legislation allowing the National Flood Program to operate.

In a Insurance Journal story this afternoon, Federal Flood Insurance Program Closed for Weeksthe blame for this mess apparently is in a state where few flood policies are sold and real estate transactions will be unaffected:

As insurance and real estate agents and homeowners feared, Congress left Washington without extending the federal flood insurance program.

Congress adjourned until April 12 after failing to agree on an unemployment benefits bill that included a provision with an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

As a result, the federal flood insurance program’s authority to write new policies ends on Sunday, March 28 at midnight. After that time, insurance agents will not be able to provide new or renewal flood insurance policies, which are required by lenders to close on some real estate sales.

Senator Tom Coburn, R- Okla., blocked the Senate from voting on the bill to extend the jobless benefits arguing that to do so would add to the deficit. Democrats argued that the measure qualified as emergency spending.

A similar impasse occurred at the end of February and the NFIP was closed for several days until Congress renewed it on March 2.

But this time the hiatus will be longer.

Congress could reinstate the NFIP and other affected programs retroactively when it returns on April 12.

Maybe real estate agents should plan their vacations around Congress as well.