Via Howie Klein at DownWithTyranny I learned that the House of Representatives approved a bill on the federal flood insurance program yesterday by a bipartisan 329-90 vote. As you can see from the roll call, 85 Republicans voted with all but one of the Democrats present to pass this bill. Here’s why:
The flood program, an arm of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has for more than four decades offered affordable insurance to more than 20,000 communities that participate in flood damage reduction efforts and to residents in federally designated flood zones. It was created in 1968 because of the reluctance of private insurers to cover flood damage.
Congress has not updated the program since 1994. In the ensuing years the once-solvent program had to pay out some $17 billion in Katrina-related claims and had to deal with FEMA flood zone remapping that has thrust thousands of homes and businesses into areas where they are required to buy flood insurance.
[…] Without congressional action on a long-term bill, the flood program has lapsed three times this year, and [Representative Maxine] Waters said that during those lapses some 1,200 people a day were unable to close on home purchases in flood plains because FEMA could neither write new insurance policies nor renew old ones. The flood program is now running on a short-term extension that expires at the end of September.
FEMA press secretary Rachel Racusen expressed hope that Congress would pass a long-term measure that would strengthen and improve the program. “This program is critical for Americans who need to protect their homes, businesses and livelihoods from flooding,” she said.
Even Republican Tom Latham of Iowa’s fourth Congressional district voted for this bill, and he rarely votes against House Republican leaders.
But wouldn’t you know, Steve King was one of the 89 Republicans who voted no on the flood insurance bill. I wonder how many of his fifth district constituents live in counties affected by flash flooding just a few weeks ago. Maybe King has more pressing things on his mind, like the new “tea party” caucus Michele Bachmann is forming in the House.