May 07 2008 -
WASHINGTON – By a vote of 19 to 73, the U.S. Senate today voted against adopting an amendment offered by Senator Roger Wicker and cosponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran that would have made multiple peril coverage available under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The amendment was strongly opposed by the chairman of the Banking Committee, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), and the ranking minority member, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). Following the vote, Wicker released the following statement:
“While the outcome of this vote is extremely disappointing, the people in South Mississippi should know that this is not the end of the road for our fight to provide relief to families hurting without access to affordable insurance.
“This is not just a Mississippi problem, nor is it only a Gulf Coast problem. From Maine to Texas, coastal homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for the cost of wind insurance. In some cases, they aren’t able to find coverage at all. The status quo is not working, and the federal government must act now to fix this inequity. I disagree with Chairman Dodd’s belief that this legislation is not the proper vehicle to address this issue but am encouraged by the fact that he acknowledged this is a national problem that needs a federal solution.
“I will continue working with Sen. Cochran and our Gulf Coast colleagues as the legislative process moves forward. Along with Rep. Gene Taylor, we have made great progress in educating our colleagues and the American public about the need to address this problem. While adoption of this amendment was preferred, the game is certainly not over. I believe we are still in a strong position to reach an agreement in conference that will address this problem and provide solutions for those in South Mississippi and other coastal states that are in desperate need of assistance.”
The House has already approved its version of the NFIP bill, including a provision offered by Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and supported by then-Rep. Wicker, to add multiple peril coverage. Following Senate approval of the bill, which is expected later today or tomorrow, a House-Senate conference will begin working out the differences between the two bills before both chambers vote on the final compromise version.
Wicker said he was also encouraged the legislation will contain a commission report to study the national catastrophic insurance problem. It will specifically look at the insurance situation on the Gulf Coast before and after Hurricane Katrina.