Democrats Reject Alexander Proposal to Extend Flood Insurance Program to Thousands of Tennesseans Affected by Flood

Says “The Money Is There, But the Authority Is Not – and It Wouldn’t Add a Penny to the Debt”

Posted on June 23, 2010

WASHINGTON—Last night, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made a motion for the Senate to pass a measure he cosponsored that would have extended the National Flood Insurance Program through December 31, 2010, without adding to the nation’s federal debt, allowing Tennesseans affected by the flood to get new flood insurance contracts, have expiring contracts renewed, and be issued changes to current contracts. Senate Democrats rejected Alexander’s proposal to pass the bill. Senator Alexander made the following statement last night on the Senate floor when his proposal was struck down: 

“I’m deeply disappointed that Democratic senators objected to providing flood insurance to the Tennesseans who need it. Tonight, it could have passed. I asked the Senate to extend the flood insurance program so that Tennesseans, who are recovering from the worst natural disaster since President Obama took office, could qualify for flood insurance so they can get their loans and open their businesses again. The money is there, but the authority is not – and it wouldn’t add a penny to the federal debt. So, if you’re in Tennessee, if you’re in New Orleans – if you’re in any other place where you’re waiting for flood insurance – you should know that Republicans just asked to extend the flood insurance program so you could buy insurance, and Democrats objected.”  

The Vitter-Alexander bill (S. 3347) would have extended authority for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to issue new flood insurance contracts, issue renewal contracts for those that are expiring and issue changes to current contracts—that authority expired on June 1st.  Alexander said the legislation would be particularly helpful for small businesses hit by the flood that cannot receive loans from the Small Business Administration until they have proof of flood insurance. 

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