Flood insurance extension passed

Published 12:32 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Now that hurricane season has arrived, Louisianians are again reminded of the importance of protecting their homes from natural disasters, especially flooding.

The National Flood Insurance Program, which guarantees coverage for families who depend on federally-issued flood insurance, expired on June 1. And for the millions of Americans who depend on this program to protect their homes, a reauthorization of this program is vital.

That’s why I’ve been fighting for an extension of this program in the Senate for the last few months. On three separate attempts, I introduced legislation to extend the flood insurance program as a stand-alone measure, but each time my liberal colleagues in the Senate hijacked this program and demanded that it be included in a larger package of un-paid for extensions.

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I find it outrageous that Senate leaders would take this vital, non-controversial legislation hostage and force us to vote on it as part of a massive bill that would increase the deficit. We have seen an unprecedented level of government spending over the past year, and Americans cannot afford more spending bills that saddle our children and grandchildren with even more debt.

There should be no objection to extending flood insurance. Everybody’s for this vital, necessary program that doesn’t increase the deficit and guarantees that people can get the flood insurance they need.

Senate leaders finally allowed a vote on this measure as a stand-alone bill this past week, but only after my repeated attempts and negotiations with my colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On Wednesday, the Senate finally approved the extension of the flood insurance program by voice vote, reauthorizing the program through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

And while I’m pleased the extension has finally been approved, I’m frustrated that, in typical Washington fashion, it took months of negotiations to remove the bureaucratic red tape and give Americans the help they need to protect their homes and property.

Sen. David Vitter represents Louisiana in the U.S. Senate. He can be reached at his Washington, D.C. office at 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, 202-224-4623.