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This Amendment By Senators Pryor (D, Arkansas) And Hoeven (R, North Dakota) Could Prevent Homeowners/Comm'l Property Owners In Parts of LB & SE L.A. County At Low Flood Risk From Having To Pay For Costly Annual Fed'l "Flood Insurance"; Hear What Multiple Senators Said Today In Supporting It Is Told Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) Supports The Amendment; Sen Boxer Publicly Silent; Amendment Supporters Warn Against Trying To Merge Flood Insurance Bill And ther Bills To Evade Amendment Vote


(June 27, 2012) -- As seen LIVE on's front page earlier today, a number of Senators -- Democrats and Republicans -- urged that the Senate adopt an an amendment that would eliminate the "residual risk" section of a flood insurance bill...that would otherwise force homeowners at low flood risk protected by levees to buy costly annual federal "flood insurance."

Senator Pryor on Senate webcast, as seen LIVE on has on-demand audio of Senate floor statements by the amendment's co-authors, Senator Mark Pryor (D, Arkansas) and John Hoeven (R, North Dakota) -- plus two supporters of the amendment (from large states) Senators Dick Durbin (D., IL) and John Toomey (R, PA).

For on-demand audio, click links below.

The amendment, which would apply nationally, would delete a section of a now-advancing flood insurance bill that would require homeowners and commercial property owners protected from a "100-year" flood risk by federally certified levees -- as in large parts of LB and SE L.A. County -- to spend sizable sums each year for federally mandated flood insurance that Sen. Pryor said bluntly "they don't need." (The bill would harvest premium revenues from the low risk areas nationally to pay flood insurance claims elsewhere, often from higher risk areas.)

A press aide in Sen. Pryor's office told that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) supports the amendment as a co-sponsor and is among roughly 13-15 co-sponsors [unconfirmed by us at the end of the east coast business day]. Sen. Feinstein didn't speak on the Senate floor today. Senator Barbara Boxer's office (D., CA) didn't respond to our request for her position on the bill and the amendment.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Pryor said he believes annual flood insurance premiums for families could be [depending on multiple factors] roughly $1,000-$2,000 each year. [The bill as written doesn't specify costs, leaving that to FEMA, which administers the flood insurance program; we speculate the cost could be at minimum hundreds of dollars annually.]

Senator Pryor said that if brought to a vote, he believes his amendment to delete the "residual risk" verbiage has over 50 votes to pass.

Among those also speaking in support of the bill were Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL), a member of the Senate Dem leadership, who called the residual risk provision in the current bill "fundamentally unfair." Also speaking was Senator Pat Toomey (R, PA)..

All four Senators variously warned against efforts by supporters of the flood insurance bill (as it stands) to try and combine its text with other advancing legislation (including a transportation bill), a maneuver that could stymie efforts to have a vote on the amendment to delete the residual risk provision. will have updates as we learn them overnight. Watch our front page for updates...and we'll have LIVE video of tomorrow's Senate session which is scheduled to take up the Flood Insurance bill along with other items.

Stay with you don't miss a thing.

To view the full Pryor-Hoeven amendment text, click here. A backgrounder from Sen. Pryor's office follows..

Backgrounder on Pryor-Hoeven Amendment to Johnson-Shelby Subtitute to S. 1940

[Sen. Pryor office text] Purpose: The purpose of the Pryor-Hoeven amendment is to strike the requirement in the Johnson-Shelby substitute amendment that mandates insurance purchase for areas protected by infrastructure.


The Johnson-Shelby substitute amendment makes changes to Section 107 of S.1940. While these changes are positive, they donít address the primary problem with Section 107 -- mandatory insurance purchase for areas protected by certified infrastructure.

The primary problem with Section 107 of the bill is that it requires everyone living behind sound, certified infrastructure to purchase flood insurance. These homeowners and businesses are already paying for flood protection through infrastructure. Further, a mandatory insurance purchase requirement creates a disincentive for economic development in areas protected by infrastructure and diminishes opportunity for local revenue generation.

Most communities behind flood control infrastructure have chosen to invest responsibly in flood protection through maintenance of infrastructure. The policy in the Johnson-Shelby substitute would, in essence, compel responsible communities to pay multiple times for flood protection 1) once for infrastructure through local taxes, and 2) a second time through government-mandated insurance purchase.

Further, this purchase requirement ignores investments made by federal, state and local governments in infrastructure. As an example, the Mississippi River and Tributaries flood control system is a $32 billion investment. This legislation ignores it. That is a terrible return-on-investment for the American taxpayer.

Additionally, Section 107 of the substitute amendment both requires mandatory insurance purchase for people behind flood control infrastructure and requires a study on the very same thing. It makes little sense to enact a provision into law before we understand the implications and consequences of the language. It is common sense to study the implications and effects of this proposal before we make it law. The Pryor-Hoeven amendment allows the study to move forward, but removes the mandatory insurance purchase requirement.

As drafted in the substitute, this simultaneous implementation and study of the consequences will create uncertainty in the marketplace. Further, FEMA indicates that it is unlikely that they begin collecting insurance from these homeowners and businesses within the 5 year reauthorization period of the bill. So why are we doing this? The mandatory purchase requirement should be considered after the issue has been studied.

Many of our most fertile lands lay in areas now protected by flood control infrastructure. And this infrastructure protects those who work along our rivers and waterways -- our nationís most indispensable transportation assets. Americans must live and work in these areas to preserve our economic interests. We should not place additional, bureaucrat-driven burdens on the areas that feed and clothe the nation and move goods from inland areas throughout our country.

Amendment Description:

The amendment strikes Section 107 of the substitute and reinserts the two studies contained in the substitute amendment -- one on mandatory purchase requirements in areas of residual risk and a second on voluntary community-based flood insurance options. The amendment also modifies the definition of residual risk areas to ensure that the Technical Mapping Advisory Council is involved in establishing this definition.

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