WASHINGTON – Alabama’s congressional Representatives split on a measure to extend the National Flood Insurance Program to Dec. 7. Without approval of that bill, the program would have closed Nov. 30.
The House on Nov. 29 voted 350 for and 46 against to approve the short-term extension. The House last year passed a long-term extension, which has stalled in the Senate. That bill was controversial because it would partially privatize the federally run program.
Already, more than $20 billion in debt despite a recent taxpayer bailout of $16 billion, the program – without reforms – is expected to take on red ink at an accelerated pace as hurricanes and flooding become increasingly destructive as a result of global warming, which the GOP-led Congress has declined to address with legislation.
Nearly five million residential and commercial properties located in flood plains in 22,000 communities are covered by national flood insurance.
Charlie Crist, D-Florida, said: “Congress cannot allow this program to expire. A lapse would leave countless families unable to renew their policies, putting them in financial peril if disaster were to strike. It would also upend the housing market, with closings coming to a full stop due to the inability to secure required coverage.”
Roger Williams, R-Texas, said: “Enough is enough. We can’t continue to pass our problems along to those in the future. The time to fix this problem is now. I will oppose extensions of the NFIP as long as this body continues to ignore meaningful reforms.”
A yes vote was to send the bill (HR 7187) to the Senate, where it was passed and sent to President Trump for his signature.
Voting yes: Bradley Byrne, R-1, Martha Roby, R-2, Mike Rogers, R-3, Robert Aderholt, R-4, Terri Sewell, D-7
Voting no: Mo Brooks, R-5, Gary Palmer, R-6
Alabama’s senators split along party lines on votes over withdrawing from the war in Yemen and advancing the nomination of lawyer Thomas A. Farr to become a federal judge in North Carolina.
U.S. Withdrawal From Yemen War
Voting 63 for and 37 against, the Senate on Nov. 28 discharged from the Committee on Foreign Relations a measure (SJ Res 54) that would end U.S. military support of a Saudi-led coalition conducting war against Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen. That support, which until recently included U.S. aerial refueling of Saudi warplanes, began about 2015 but has never received congressional authorization or substantive debate in the Senate or House. The policy could receive a full airing if this measure reaches the Senate floor in December, as is expected.
Mike Lee, R-Utah, said: “U.S. intervention in Yemen is unauthorized, unconstitutional and immoral. We must not – we cannot – delay voting to end our involvement and our support of Saudi Arabia any further. If we do, we have ourselves to blame for our country’s lost credibility on the world stage, and, more importantly, our own consciences will bear the blame for the thousands of lives that will surely continue to be lost.”
No senator spoke on the other side of the issue.
A yes vote was to advance a Yemen-withdrawal measure to debate on the Senate floor.
Voting yes: Doug Jones, D
Voting no: Richard Shelby, R
Thomas Farr Judicial Nomination
In a preliminary vote, the Senate on Nov. 28 narrowly advanced the nomination of Thomas A. Farr, an attorney in private practice, to become a federal judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The tally was 51 for and 50 against, with Vice President Pence casting the deciding vote. But Tim Scott, R-S.C., said later he would ultimately vote against Farr, effectively sinking the nomination. Farr drew mainly Democratic opposition because of his legal work defending Republican-sponsored voting restrictions and gerrymanders in North Carolina that courts found to be discriminatory toward African Americans.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called Farr’s nomination “an absolute disgrace” because he “has been chief cook and bottle washer with North Carolina’s invidious and despicable efforts to prevent people, particularly minorities, from voting.”
No senator spoke in support of Farr.
A yes vote was to advance a nomination that was later shelved by the GOP leadership.
Voting yes: Shelby
Voting no: Jones
KEY VOTES AHEAD
Congress will debate a fiscal 2019 spending bill in the week of Dec. 3 in hopes of averting a pre-Christmas Day partial shutdown of the government.