An amendment Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., sponsored in the House added wind insurance to the National Flood Insurance Program. However, the Senate Banking Committee did not include the wind amendment in its bill to reauthorize the flood program.
Wicker told the Rotary club that’s because committee Chair Chris Dodd, a Democrat, is from Connecticut, where numerous insurance companies are headquartered, and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee, balked at the cost.
The federal Office of Management and Budget has said wind insurance could up costs to a trillion dollars over time. Wicker said he has agreed to set up a meeting between Shelby and Taylor.
Wicker said the wind amendment requires sound rates and tougher building standards. Proponents also say comprehensive coverage would negate multibillion-dollar Katrina bailouts.
Wicker also talked about the need for congressional earmarks to fund local military and government projects. He believes earmarks should be spelled out in legislation rather than tucked away in committee reports, a change he expects a task force to recommend. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and another defender of earmarks, is serving on that task force.