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Public Statements

Cap and Trade Revenue

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Cap and Trade Revenue -- (Senate - May 07, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT NO. 4711 TO AMENDMENT NO. 4707

Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I wish to call up two amendments and then make some brief comments about them. The first amendment is amendment No. 4711, which I believe is at the desk.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the pending amendments are set aside.

The clerk will report.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. DeMint] proposes an amendment numbered 4711 to amendment No. 4707.

Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To require the Director to conduct a study on the impact, effectiveness, and feasibility of amending section 1361 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to include widely used and nationally recognized building codes as part of the floodplain management criteria developed under such section)

At the end, add the following:

SEC. __XX. REPORT ON INCLUSION OF BUILDING CODES IN FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT CRITERIA.

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall conduct a study and submit a report to the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate regarding the impact, effectiveness, and feasibility of amending section 1361 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4102) to include widely used and nationally recognized building codes as part of the floodplain management criteria developed under such section, and shall determine--

(1) the regulatory, financial, and economic impacts of such a building code requirement on homeowners, States and local communities, local land use policies, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency;

(2) the resources required of State and local communities to administer and enforce such a building code requirement;

(3) the effectiveness of such a building code requirement in reducing flood-related damage to buildings and contents;

(4) the impact of such a building code requirement on the actuarial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program;

(5) the effectiveness of nationally recognized codes in allowing innovative materials and systems for flood-resistant construction; and

(6) the feasibility and effectiveness of providing an incentive in lower premium rates for flood insurance coverage under such Act for structures meeting whichever of such widely used and nationally recognized building code or any applicable local building code provides greater protection from flood damage.

AMENDMENT NO. 4710, AS MODIFIED, TO AMENDMENT NO. 4707

Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, my next amendment is actually a modification which I need to send to the desk. It is amendment No. 4710.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. DeMint] proposes an amendment numbered 4710, as modified.

Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I ask that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

On page 8, line 13, strike ``and''.

On page 8, line 16, strike ``policy.''.'' and insert the following: ``policy; and

``(3) any property purchased on or after the date of enactment of the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007.''.

Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, if I could take a couple of minutes to explain these, my hope is that I can even get the chairman's support of this.

Amendment No. 4711 is actually a study that I hope we can all agree on. It is a study that would try to determine the feasibility of using incentives of lower flood insurance rates when consumers or businesses have their homes or business locations comply with nationally recognized building codes. A number of codes are out there. If we could encourage better construction of buildings, to make them more resistant to storms, it is likely we could save the flood insurance program a lot of money. So this amendment would simply study the feasibility of those incentives and what it might do to insurance rates, as well as to saving Government money.

My second amendment, No. 4710, ends the practice of permanently subsidizing premiums for older homes in flood zones, which can be as large as 65-percent. The bill does a good job phasing out these subsidies for just about every other property: businesses, vacation rentals, and primary residences that have been renovated since the flood zone mapping was determined. But there are a number of homes that are grandfathered into subsidies up to 65 percent. These are homes that were built before 1975 or when their area's flood mapping was actually done. These primary residences enjoy this subsidy, and will continue to under the current bill.

What my amendment does not do is change the insurance rates or the subsidy for those who are grandfathered into the current rate that we call pre-firm, or before flood insurance rate maps were completed; in other words, these are folks who could legitimately have said they did not know they were in a flood plain when they bought their home. I think their rates and subsidies should stay the same.

What my amendment does is make the premiums for pre-firm properties sold after this bill's enactment the same actuarial rates of homes that were built after the new mapping was complete, or post-firm. So it is a relatively simple amendment, and I think it gives more equity to the total bill by making sure all properties are eventually treated equally.

So I will provide more detail tomorrow, but I hope the chairman will consider both of those amendments because I would love to have his support.

With that, I yield the floor.


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