Statement by Senator Mark Pryor On Fairness in Flood Insurance Reform Legislation
Senator Mark Pryor today made the following statement regarding his vote in opposition to the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, S.2284.
The National Flood Insurance Program must be a self-sustaining program that protects policy holders and taxpayers following severe storms. Unfortunately, the legislation before the Senate does not offer a sound solution for Arkansas or the program.
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for communities in rural America. This legislation arbitrarily requires families who are already protected by dams, dikes, or levees to buy flood insurance and increases the cost of that insurance on current and future policyholders without increasing the amount of coverage to keep pace with inflation. I tried to require the program to collect sound data before changing the flood insurance purchase requirements, but my effort was defeated. I also have serious concerns that this bill and FEMA's new flood map policies do not consider a community or individual's ability to cover expensive and unexpected mandates. I am disappointed a cost-share or related levee improvement program was dismissed from this legislation. On these grounds, I voted to send this legislation back to the drawing board.
During consideration of this legislation, I cosponsored and voted for a measure to stop stockpiling barrels of oil in the nearly full Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This step, which President Bush could take without the Senate's consent, would increase supply and lower prices at the pump. The amendment passed by a bipartisan vote of 97-1 - a clear sign that the Senate stands in favor of cheaper gas for the American consumer. I urge President Bush to listen to this message and the millions of calls from individuals around the country. He should halt donations to the SPR now instead of waiting for this bill to advance through an often lengthy and unpredictable legislative process.