This was a procedural vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage.
If passed, this particular procedural motion -- known as the “previous question" -- effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, wind coverage “would be offered at a premium sufficient to cover the future expected cost of that coverage.” In other words, the program would be financially “self-sustaining,” and would not add to the federal budget deficit.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) argued the legislation was necessary because, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, insurance companies had “engaged in a maddening shell game with homeowners about their coverage” and refused to cover damage they claimed was due to wind and not flooding. Slaughter argued: “The apparent loophole in coverage made it very difficult for many families to rebuild in the months and years after the storm. The same problem has cropped up after other hurricanes or large storms have struck over the years…. The bill creates a new program within the National Flood Insurance Program to purchase both flood and wind storm insurance under one multi-peril policy, or to purchase wind storm coverage to supplement their already existing flood insurance.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) urged opposition to the resolution as well as the underlying legislation: “…We're here today to discuss H.R. 1264, which would expand the National Flood Insurance Program, known as NFIP, to include wind storm insurance coverage. But once again today, based upon the agenda that this Democratic majority has, it would create a massive new government program to offer government-paid coverage backed with taxpayer dollars. And while this legislation may be well-intended, I have no doubt that it would have a crushing impact on a very fragile U.S. job market that would add billions to the federal deficit.”
The House agreed to the motion ordering the previous question by a vote of 234-179. 234 Democrats voted “yea.” All 168 Republicans present and 11 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation expanding the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage.