2008 Scorecard Vote
With global warming contributing to the severity of hurricanes, sea level rise, and flooding, it's becoming increasingly imperative to discourage new development and rebuilding in environmentally sensitive shorelines, wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands. Unfortunately, the availability of federally subsidized flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) often encourages risky development in flood-prone areas, putting people and communities in harm's way. Following the catastrophic and unprecedented 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, the U.S. Treasury debt of the NFIP grew to more than $17 billion, with annual interest exceeding three quarters of a billion dollars. With the program set to expire at the end of FY 2008, Congress began working to reform and extend the program another five years.
During Senate consideration of H.R. 3121, the Senate's version of the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) offered an amendment to greatly expand the scope of federal insurance offered to include coverage for wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other windstorms. This means new federal subsidies and an expansion of taxpayer risk that would likely further spur risky and environmentally-damaging development.
On May 7, the amendment was defeated by a 19-74 vote (Senate roll call vote 117). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill on September 27, 2007, which included provisions similar to the Wicker amendment. In the final days of the Congress, a House-Senate Conference was pending on the legislation.