This was a vote on a motion to recommit (on a flood insurance bill) that would have eliminated an outreach program intended to educate property owners about how the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP -- which provides flood insurance coverage to property owners).
A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. If successful, the motion sends the legislation back to committee with instructions to amend the legislation as specified.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) argued the NFIP outreach program was duplicative since the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already carried out an outreach program. Since the flood program operates within FEMA, Hensarling argued that it did not need a separate outreach initiative: “…The motion to recommit today is a simple one. It says today, right here, right now, this body will decline to create…a new FEMA outreach program on top of the FEMA outreach program that is already in place….What we are saying is there is an opportunity right here, right now not to create yet another duplicative program and add to the debt burden.”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) argued that an outreach initiative that was specific to the flood insurance program was necessary, and that the general FEMA outreach program was not sufficient: “I am very surprised that the members on the opposite side of the aisle would try and deny to their constituents the basic kind of information and services that we should all be responsible for. We should be able to say to our constituents not only do you have a right to this information, but we are going to give you some help…. these are simply outreach activities that must be dealt with. These are outreach activities that our constituents deserve.”
The House rejected Hensarling’s motion to recommit by a vote of 191-229. 172 Republicans and 19 Democrats voted “yea.” 227 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have have eliminated an outreach program intended to educate property owners about how the National Flood Insurance Program.