Today the U.S. House easily approved the first phase of legislation designed to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy in October and November. The two-paragraph bill (pdf) will "temporarily increase [by $9.7 billion] the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program."
All 193 Democrats present and 161 Republicans voted for the bill, but 67 Republicans voted against it (roll call). Iowa’s Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), Tom Latham (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) were all the yes column.
During the last Congress, I would have expected to see King among a group of several dozen hard-line conservatives defying GOP leaders, especially since the Club for Growth had warned Republicans to vote no (opposing government involvement in the insurance industry on principle). After the jump I’ve posted King’s statement explaining his vote. Maybe the Missouri River flooding in his district has increased his appreciation for the national flood insurance program. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him oppose the second Sandy relief bill next week, on the grounds that it contains too much pork. Alternatively, maybe he is more reluctant to defy House leaders from his new perch as a subcommittee chairman. I’m curious to see how his voting evolves in the new Congress.
Statement from Steve King, January 4:
“The insurance policy holders affected by Sandy have a contractual guarantee backed by Congress that we met today,” said King. “Because Congress has created its own monopoly over flood insurance and mismanaged the risk/premium ratios, we have no ground to stand on to deny legitimate insurance claims to the victims of Sandy. I would have liked to have seen offsets, and I will continue to fight for offsets in any future disaster relief bills.”