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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1264, Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

While I oppose the rule and the bill, I want to say with great emphasis what a fiscal conservative my friend from Mississippi is, and how I know that he is struggling to find a solution to something that I would agree is a problem.

Now, I live in Savannah. I have a house on the waterfront, and I also have a beach house, so I have to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and in the State windstorm pool. And Mr. Taylor is right, if you've ever dealt with them, it is a pain in the neck. The bureaucracy is horrible, getting the claims paid is a really big problem. The debate as to what is flood and what is wind and what is wind-driven water is very complicated. And the insurance companies will get no sympathy from me on this situation.

The problem is that here we are again under the Pelosi Congress with a closed rule in which none of us can offer an amendment. I mean, think about that. We're all elected, 435 Members representing 600,000 people, and yet we're not allowed to offer an amendment because the Rules Committee has to play favorites. And unless you're on the A list, you can't offer an amendment, even though you still represent 600,000 people like everyone else here. So we can't improve this.

A couple of suggestions I would have said is, why not give the State insurance commissioners--since, as my friend knows, insurance is a State matter, the McCarran-Ferguson Act, Public Law 15, says that States will regulate insurance. And why not make sure the insurance commissioners have the authority to say to an insurance company, if you want to sell insurance in my State, then you're going to have to take a percentage of the flood or the windstorm exposure? Give him the power to twist their arms. Because I can tell you, having been in the insurance system--I'm a CPCU, that's a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter--that insurance companies will cede anything, anything that's difficult they will be glad to let the State government or the Federal Government take all the flood claims, take the crime claims, take the DUI drivers. They want the unprofitable stuff off their books because they make money two different ways, one is an underwriting profit, the other one is an investment profit.

Now, ironically, right now we're in a soft market. Insurance premiums on the commercial side are actually going down because insurance companies, for some unknown reason, are making their money elsewhere. So I think

what Mr. Taylor is saying is right, there are some things that are going on, and an insurance commissioner should be able to get to the bottom of it. But again, since we can't amend this to try to put language like that in there, we need to bring this rule down to send the bill back to committee.

Now, I want to say we almost got through today without a new Federal program--I thought it might happen. This is a new Federal program. We did pass $34 billion onto the next generation in increased debt--which I know some people were clapping about, I don't exactly follow that. We have a $1.4 trillion deficit, the largest debt in the history of the Nation, 90 percent of our GDP, and yet we have Members on the Democrat side clapping about $34 billion in new debt.

Now, put this in context. May of 2008, a Bush stimulus bill--which I voted against--$168 billion; it did not create jobs. Bear Stearns bailout by the Federal Reserve in March of 2008, $29 billion. Fannie Mae bailout, $200 billion in July of 2008. September of 2008, AIG bailout--again by the Federal Reserve--$85 billion, now up to $140 billion. And then we had the infamous TARP, $700 billion. I voted ``no'' on that. Then here comes the stimulus bill to keep unemployment from going to 8 percent. Unemployment at the time was 7.6 percent, and $800 billion later we're at 10 percent unemployment. We are right now borrowing 37 cents on every dollar we spend. I hope you will vote the rule down.


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