Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it quietly, but he's obviously more than a tad irked at Sen. Rand Paul's latest shenanigan and he says he's not going to put up with it. The Kentucky Republican is holding up a bill that would shore up federal financing for the National Flood Insurance Program by trying to attach an amendment to it that would give legal protections to fetuses from the moment of fertilization. Like all fetal personhood legislation, this one is designed to block abortions.
The flood insurance bill has widespread support. NFIP underwrites the cost of flood insurance in participating communities. Under the program, some 5.6 million homeowners get their insurance from private sellers, but the federal government pays off claims in the 44-year-old program. The 2005 fiscal year was an especially tough one in which NFIP had to borrow $18 billion from the Treasury in claims were paid out. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would save $4.7 billion over the next eight years. About one-fifth of those covered receive subsidized rates. The subsidies are focused on homes built before 1975, and on those built before the nationwide flood-mapping system designated high-risk areas. The bill would gradually remove the subsidies on second homes.
I think some of this stuff is just—I have been very patient working with my Republican colleagues in allowing relevant amendments on issues, and sometimes we even do non-relevant amendments. But really, on flood insurance?
After all the work that’s been put on this bill, this is ridiculous that somebody says "I’m not going to let this bill go forward unless I have a vote on when life begins. I am not going to do that, and I think I speak for the majority of senators. [...]
We’ll either do flood insurance with amendments dealing with flood insurance or we won’t do it.
Sen. Paul said
Tuesday: “I think the people who believe in protecting life would like to see a vote.”
Americans living in regions afflicted by hurricanes and other flood-causing events would no doubt like to see a vote, too. But fundamentalist forced-birthers, even supposedly libertarian forced-birthers, are determined not to let anything get in the way of their crusade to curtail women's reproductive rights.