This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, wind coverage “would be offered at a premium sufficient to cover the future expected cost of that coverage.” In other words, the program would be financially “self-sustaining,” and would not add to the federal budget deficit.
Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) urged support for the bill, and implied that measure’s opponents were simply in the pocket of the insurance industry: “If I was a shill for the insurance industry, and apparently we have our share on the floor today, I would do everything but talk about what the insurance industry did to south Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina…What we are proposing is a program that…would allow people to…pay for a wind option. That way if they come home to nothing, if they come home to a substantially destroyed house, it doesn't matter if the wind did it, it doesn't matter if the water did it; the fact is they built their house the way they were supposed to, they built it in a place that was safe, they paid their premiums, and they are going to get paid.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) argued that if the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was expanded to cover wind damage, it would assume additional liability that would be passed onto taxpayers: “Transferring these liabilities from the private sector to the NFIP would be fiscally irresponsible. The NFIP currently owes the U.S. Treasury over $18 billion--yet we're going to give them some more, we're going to empower them some more--the amount that it's been forced to borrow from the American taxpayers to pay claims and expenses in excess of the premiums collected.”
The House agreed to the resolution by a vote of 228-183. 227 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 166 Republicans and 17 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage.