GOP obstruction of employment bill means trouble for flooded homeowners
With at least one in 10 Americans unemployed, Senate Democrats weren’t happy when Republicans repeatedly obstructed efforts to extend unemployment benefits.
It turns out the package also included an extension of federal flood insurance. As northeastern states face flooding from record rainfalls, many homeowners may not receive their insurance claims because Senate Republicans prevented an immediate extension of the insurance program.
Expiration of the program leaves “homeowners across the country vulnerable to the devastating effects of flood waters and adding greater uncertainty to the real estate market in flood-prone areas,” said PCI Federal Government Relations Senior Vice President Ben McKay in a statement.
Democrats have already begun blaming Senate Republicans, arguing they should have agreed to approve the programs’ extensions on an emergency basis without delaying approval.
Many individuals in areas where flood insurance is required were unable to close or renew flood insurance policies, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. According to the group, there are about 5.5 million flood insurance policy holders in those areas.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unfortunate that the [program] has fallen victim to the political process,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Blain Rethmeier, spokesman for the American Insurance Association.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ultimately the people who will suffer the most are property owners who need new coverage or who need to renew their flood insurance policies. One can only hope that Mother Nature is kind until April 12. Otherwise, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not much people can do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Republican opposition to extending the unemployment bill has been strong.
In February, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) expressed his singular disapproval to a unanimous vote in simple terms: “Tough shit.” Last week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) prevented the extension of benefits once again.
Sen. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) said he fears the Mississippi will overflow and the same problem will come to his state. It is already at high levels. He said homeowners across the country will have problems if Congress doesn’t act soon.
“The Senate was like a dog with a sock in his mouth, trying to let it go away, but wasn’t gonna let it go, but wasn’t taking care of it either,” said Melancon. “Hopefully they’ll take care of it when they go back in.”