Freedom First Society

Issue: S. 1182, As Amended; An act to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, and for other purposes. Question: Motion to Concur in the House Amendments to S. 1182.

Result:  Motion agreed to in Senate, 96 to 12, 2 not voting. (Passed in House, 7-25-18, Roll Call 373.)  Became Public Law 115-225 (signed by the President, 7-31-18).  GOP and Democrats scored.

Freedom First Society:  The National Flood Insurance Program, initiated in 1968 during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, is unconstitutional.  The multi-year authorization expired last September. Rather than letting the program lapse, the House has focused on reform.  In absence of Senate action, however, the House has caved in and authorized this seventh short-term extension (four months) of the “unreformed” unconstitutional program.

12 GOP Senators refused to go along with this business as usual.  No Democrat objected.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Bill Summary (from the Congressional Research Service):

Shown Here:  Public Law No: 115-225 (07/31/2018)
National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through November 30, 2018.

Analysis: To understand and address the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it is important to recognize its origins.

NFIP Origins

According to a report by the late Gary Allen in the June 1975 issue of American Opinion:

“The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 is another of the land-grab statutes. [Promoted heavily by members of the Rockefeller-endowed political syndicate known as Thirteen-Thirteen.] It was created under Title Twenty-four of the Housing and Urban Development Act of that year, but it was updated and consolidated with other such acts under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973.   [Note: The United States Housing and Urban Development Department was created in 1965 during the Lyndon Johnson administration.]

“This legislation directed H.U.D. to designate all areas in the country that are subject to mudflows in any one year or to a one percent chance of being flooded (that’s a chance of one flood per century). An estimated ten thousand communities were thus subjected to the controls. Once designated, communities and citizens are coerced to join the flood insurance program. Those that refuse to participate find that federal monies are withheld — including federal insurance of banks and savings and loan associations….

To meet H.U.D.’s standards, designated communities are required to come up with a land-use plan acceptable to bureaucrats of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They have so arranged their control structure that it could be necessary to get the permission of a bureaucrat to so much as move a hedge in your backyard.

“And these boys mean business. When only about twenty percent of the designated flood-prone communities had applied for participation as of May 1974, H.U.D. recommended in its ‘information kit on flood insurance’ that citizens who suffer loss in non-participating communities file damage suits against their local officials.

“Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the states now claim they must pass land-use laws or face federal harassment.” [Emphasis added.]

Constitutional Limitations

Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to provide state and local disaster aid.   At one time in our nation’s history, that was understood.

In one of his most famous vetoes, President Grover Cleveland rejected the “Texas Seed Bill” that would have provided minimal disaster assistance to a number of drought-stricken Texas counties. On February 16, 1886, Cleveland delivered his veto message to the House of Representatives. The following excerpt speaks to principles long ignored by today’s collectivist-oriented media:

“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadily resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.

“The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated.  Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”

Our Freedom Is in Danger

The great majority of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional. The number of unconstitutional agencies and programs has exploded since World War II.   The resulting federal monster is now bankrupting our nation and reducing the middle class.  It ultimately targets our freedom.   It must be tamed, and the Constitution provides the essential standard for doing so.

Instead of asserting an unconstitutional responsibility to provide disaster aid, government’s main responsibility should be to get us out of the unconstitutional mess it has created.  The fact that Congress often requires years to accomplish even the most basic reforms suggest that the size of the bureaucracy it has created now exceeds the ability of Congress to manage it.

Correcting the mess doesn’t necessarily mean going “cold turkey” on all unconstitutional spending.   In some cases, it just means letting programs run their course and expire. But restoring constitutional government does means slashing the enormous borrowing, taxing, and spending of the federal government, so the states can acquire the revenue to do what the voters want their states to do and the voters have the means to provide private charity and “strengthen the bonds of a common brotherhood.”

It well to keep in mind Napoleon Bonaparte’s succinct assessment: “The purely defensive is doomed to defeat.”  Freedom will not survive unless there is leadership to roll back prior socialist big-government gains.

The Senate approved this extension of the NFIP essentially without debate.  For some commentary on the problems troubling the NFIP, please see the House debate excerpts in our analysis of the House Roll Call 373 (7-15-18).

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