The Senate’s flood insurance program looked like it was headed toward smooth passage – but now, there appears to be an abortion-related snag.
That’s at least according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said Tuesday that a Republican senator is insisting on a vote on an amendment defining “when life begins.” Reid didn’t name the senator, but it was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who had offered the amendment.
“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,” Reid said. “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,’” Reid continued. “I am not going to do that, and I think I speak for the majority of senators.”
Calling the request “outlandish,” Reid said he was told of Paul’s demands on Monday night.
And while he’s allowed various unrelated amendments to bills as of late – last week’s farm bill being one example – Reid put his foot down on the latest request.
“We’ll either do flood insurance with amendments dealing with flood insurance or we won’t do it,” Reid said.
Paul responded to reporters Tuesday: “I think the people who believe in protecting life would like to see a vote.”
The controversial topic of abortion surfaced in another non-related bill, when senators voted on an amendment in a two-year transportation package that would allow employers to opt out of covering certain health services – a response to the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate.
The White House has endorsed the Senate flood insurance bill, saying in a statement issued Monday that the legislation would shore up the National Flood Insurance Program’s finances while helping to reduce the risk of flooding in vulnerable