The National Flood Insurance Program expired Sunday night after Congress failed to pass a temporary extension of the program that is vital to protecting homes in the New Orleans area.Truly, the U.S. Senate has become utterly dysfunctional when a single lunatic can override the majority and hold the entire nation hostage.
The lapse puts home sales at risk and could leave homeowners whose policies were scheduled to renew March 1 in jeopardy in the unlikely event that Monday's rains turned out to be heavy enough to cause flooding.
Other homeowners with existing flood coverage should face no repercussions.
While the federal flood insurance program is expected to be re-authorized, frustrated insurance agents and Realtors are asking why Congress is treating the program so carelessly by keeping it alive with temporary extensions rather than finish the sweeping overhaul that was launched after Hurricane Katrina.
It's not just the insane who are empowered under Senate rules. What crazy Jim Bunning's home town newspaper has to say about him applies with equal force to the entire Republican congressional delegation and too-many Blue Dog mongrel Democrats:
As long as Republicans were in charge, Sen. Jim Bunning was OK with trading a surplus for a deficit. He voted to put two wars, tax cuts and a Medicare drug benefit on the nation's credit card.Senate "holds" and the notorious filibuster rule have got to go. As long as they exist, democracy is dead and self-governance nothing more than an ugly and imaginary chimera.
Now that Republicans are no longer in charge, Bunning is drawing the line on deficit spending. He's doing it in a way that shows callous contempt for the more than one in 10 working Kentuckians whose jobs disappeared in the economic meltdown.
Or, as law professor Jack Balkin, who sees Republican behavior creating a constitutional crisis, put it the other day, "Either the Senate's rules are reformed soon, or Congress becomes increasingly irrelevant to governance."