by Ana Maria
With every desired amendment successfully voted into the legislation and all others definitively defeated, Congressman Gene Taylor’s multiple peril bill triumphed amid tremendous bi-partisan support to pass overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives. The final vote was 263 to 146. Nearly every Democratic member of the House voted for this pragmatic and forward thinking piece of legislation that protects our financial security. Adding their votes to the overwhelming majority total, 45 Republicans voted with their 218 Democratic colleagues to pass this pragmatic—and progressive—piece of legislation.
With Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s continuous support, we have overcome this major hurdle. With the support of Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) whose job it is to be certain that counted the votes to ensure a bill’s passage, we have overcome this major hurdle in Katrina recovery. With the support of Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) who chairs the House Financial Services Committee and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) who chairs the subcommittee that heard this bill, this legislation has been safely navigated through the U.S. House of Representatives. Thank you to each of this important leaders and their stubborn determination to do right by us.
Of course, George W. Bush issued a veto threat on the very day of this vote. Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon. Based on some philosophical perspective that says leaving the financial security of families and businesses to the whims of greedy gutted Big Insurance carriers is what defines one as a Republican.
The Republican leadership, of course, had their anti-family, anti-business game plan nailed down. The plan was executed with the designed results achieved—slow down the process, put forth specious arguments, pretend to be what they are not. Concerned about the financial well-being of the nation. With record deficits and a continuously dragging economy going on seven years now, all they have left is pretension.
Their slow down plan worked. Every amendment offered by the Democrats was voted on by voice vote. A Republican would then ask for the vote to be recorded. That’s another 15 minutes to find out again that many Congressional Republicans were on record as being out of touch with America’s financial security needs. The Democrats put up about a dozen amendments all of which passed easily, first by voice then by recorded votes.
The most hilarious argument that the Republicans offered was the one saying that Congress should not consider voting on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) approved, fiscally-sound multiple peril proposal until the federal flood insurance program’s financial fiasco was cleaned up. What a hoot! Congressman Frank pointed out that the program got to be a financial mess on the Republican watch and left that mess for the Democrats when they took over the Congressional leadership this past January.
Isn’t this a scream?! The Republicans are telling America that until someone else cleans up the mess that they had made of the federal flood insurance program that no other legislation—regardless of how rock solid, fiscally sound it is and how it will dramatically help our families and businesses—should be passed. Period. What a crock of rubbish.
None of those Republicans objecting to this bill ever put forth legislation to fix the problem with the flood program. None of them questioned whether Big Insurance was fraudulently passing their costs to the federal taxpayer.
In a letter to his congressional colleagues asking to support this strategic piece of legislation, Congressman Taylor wrote
Since Katrina, the federal government has paid more than $30 billion for housing repair grants, FEMA trailers, rental assistance, subsidized loans, tax deductions, and other housing assistance. Many of those costs could have been covered by insurance. Every taxpayer in America will benefit when much more damage is covered by insurance premiums rather than by costly and inefficient disaster assistance programs.
I’m so very proud that these courageous Congressional Democrats and Republicans put the financial security of our nation’s families and businesses above the security of their elected office. Surely Karl Rove and Company will target a number of these men and women in next year’s election. Nevertheless, they put America first. For this, I applaud each of them and hope you will, too.
Today is a day of congratulations, thanks, appreciation, and immense gratitude.
Congratulations to America for electing the men and women who passed this legislation in the face of a White House known for exacting its political revenge.
Immense gratitude to Congressman Gene Taylor and his staff who have worked diligently on this critical legislation.
Big thanks and much appreciation to Speaker Pelosi for caring about an area of the country deeply scarred by the Big Insurance’s gargantuan greed and White House Neanderthal-like neglect. Over a year ago, Speaker Pelosi promised this region that if the Democrats were in power in the House of Representatives, she would personally make certain that this legislation passed her chamber. This year at the August 13th Town Hall Meeting here in Bay St. Louis, Miss., I had the privilege of hearing her reiterate this pledge. The speaker is a woman of her word. With yesterday’s vote, she made good on her pledge.
Today’s political activity centers on this theme. Let’s contact our congressional representatives that voted for this legislation and tell them how grateful and thankful we are for their courage and their foresight in voting for the multiple peril legislation.
Think about it. When we’ve done our job, particularly if it may have been difficult to do, we respond favorably when someone thanks us afterward, right? We feel better about having done it. Next time something like it comes our way, we’re more likely to remember the gratitude we received. With that positive memory in place, we’re more likely to sign up for the next grueling task remembering that our previous hard work had been appreciated.
Our elected officials are human like the rest of us and will respond the same way. So, too, will their staff.
Imagine when the staffer in the office gets the call and takes down the message of . . . thanks and appreciation. Talk about being blown away! The smile slides across the face and the beaming from ear-to-ear emits this kind of after glow, a feeling of “hey, someone gave us a pat on the back. How cool is that!”
Yes, I’m definitely talking from my own experience. It works, baby. So, let’s burn up those phone and email lines with an attitude of gratitude. What a terrific way to start off the weekend. It can only get better from here—for our weekend and this legislation.
See, congressional members and their staffers are also friends with their counterparts in the U.S. Senate. They talk with each other. They eat lunch together. After a long day, they go out and have a drink together. Just like any other organization, Congressional offices cross-pollinate with friendships and the like. We need the buzz to go to the U.S. Senate. Contacting our congressional reps not only closes the loop on this phase of our political hell-raising, it also opens the door for a similar result in the U.S. Senate. It starts with saying thanks today so that the buzz can go around Capitol Hill.
As the Bonnie Rait song says, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.”
© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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Friday, September 28, 2007
by Ana Maria