Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon urging House Republicans to allow a vote on bipartisan flood insurance legislation. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Gentleman from Colorado for yielding. I thank my colleagues from Florida for being on the Floor. And I rise to urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so that instead we can call up a bipartisan bill to alleviate the anxiety of millions of homeowners in flood-prone areas that their flood insurance premiums won't become simply unaffordable. Should we do any less?
“Twice already we've had the votes in this House to bring up this bill, a companion of which passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 68-32 on January 30. There's no reason why this bill wouldn't pass overwhelmingly. Once again, partisan politics has wedged itself in between Congress’s best intentions and the potential for achieving results.
“It's surprising that Republican Members from flood-prone districts have twice voted to block this bill from coming to the Floor and to deprive their constituents of the assistance they need and the reassurance they deserve. Sometimes party asks too much. Sometimes party asks for votes which will hurt your constituents. Rise above party and vote for your people.
“We should not repeat the overwhelming delay that occurred in supplying assistance in response to Superstorm Sandy. After that storm, the Republican leadership blocked Congress from taking action on emergency disaster funding for more than 90 days. The continued obstruction of this bipartisan flood insurance bill is an unfortunate continuation of that same trend of letting partisanship get in the way of doing what is right.
“I know there are many of our colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle that want to do what is right for their constituents. Do not let party regularity dissuade you from doing the right thing. I appeal to them, Mr. Speaker, to support their constituents, not their party, by setting partisanship aside, working with us to defeat the previous question, and allowing the House to vote on the Grimm-Waters legislation – a bipartisan piece of legislation that will make sure homeowners don't find themselves under-water in more ways than one.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that the previous question -- what does that mean? Our constituents, Mr. Speaker, must be watching. What's Hoyer talking about? Why are they always talking about a ‘previous question?’ It's simply a vote by which it says if the previous question is not approved that we can offer the bipartisan legislation to give the relief that is so desperately needed now. Not 90 days from now – now. So defeat this previous question, and, my Republican colleagues, if you care about your flood-ravaged and flood-risk constituents, vote no on the previous question.”