Senate advances flood insurance bill, but more work needed

"After having had some discussions with various people, at this point, it would not be of any benefit," he said of trying to finish the bill today. "There's no need for me to stand up and ask unanimous consent when I know it's not going to go anyplace."

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After his brief remarks, Reid called for votes on a substitute amendment from Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and various related amendments, filling the so-called "amendment tree." This process has been used before to freeze the floor process and block out other amendments while an agreement is being reached off the floor.

The bill, S. 1940, would restructure the NFIP in an effort to let the program start paying back the nearly $18 billion in debt it has incurred over the last few decades. The primary change is to let the program — the only flood insurance program in the country — charge higher premiums to people in flood zones.

Earlier Monday, the Obama administration indicated support for the bill.


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