Last week it seemed like smooth sailing for the Senate's noncontroversial flood insurance bill. The bill, which renews funding for the National Flood Insurance Program had been expected to pass easily on the Senate floor. However, that was last week, this is now.
This week, (on Monday to be precise) the story had changed dramatically
. It now seems like we have once again another stand-off between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats.
On Monday evening, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) decided to offer a "fetal personhood" amendment to the bill. The amendment Paul offered would define "when life begins" and would extend certain legal protections to fetuses starting at the moment of conception, thus outlawing abortion.
Sen.Paul says that he is "just trying to get a vote for people who elected me." Senate Majority Leader Reid says "I think this is outlandish" and "I am not going to put up with that on flood insurance."
In the past few months, Sen. Reid has allowed Republicans to attach some unrelated amendments to certain bills. However, on this bill the Majority Leader seems to be drawing the line. “We’ll either do flood insurance with amendments dealing with flood insurance or we won’t do it. We’ll have an extension," said Reid while addressing his fellow senators Tuesday.
Undeterred by the criticism and the Leader's harsh stance, Sen. Paul struck back Tuesday,
saying: "Can you believe that they're exasperated with me?" Adding, "If [Reid will] give me a freestanding vote, I'll take a freestanding vote any time."
There has not been a response so far from the White House on the Paul amendment. However, early Monday the Administration released a statement endorsing bill.