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tors to discuss this emergency on the very Tuesday after the flood, which was over the weekend.
All the Federal agencies have put maximum effort into bringing relief rapidly and effectively.
I think the hearings yesterday and today reinforced the conclusions that a faster and better job has been done in connection with this disaster and by this administration than in any previous disaster. The agencies have to work within the limitations of existing law. I think we need some liberalizing amendments. The need has been demonstrated by this disaster, as, for instance, this morning we heard Mr. Barnes speak of the $25 million limitation on disaster loans. I think that should be enlarged. Also, of course, within the jurisdiction of this committee is the need that is being demonstrated under the Senator's able questioning here, the need for flood insurance of some kind.
I think we are all hopeful that these hearings will provide a basis for a sound and workable flood insurance program. I think the hearings also have demonstrated the need for other actions by the Congress when it reconvenes. Primary and most important of all is the question of floods and hurricane prevention, legislation to that end, and particularly the appropriations to implement authorized flood-prevention projects which have been on the books for 10 or more years.
Secondly, we need better flood and hurricane forecasters and, alsoand this most be apparent to anyone who has visited our stricken areas—we need on the local level more attention to zoning and local regulation to prevent people from inviting disaster by building in a riverbank in some cases and too close to the riverbank in so many, many cases. We need local action to prevent this type of disaster which has been invited, to some extent, by lax zoning laws or the lack of zoning laws.
I thank the chairman for the opportunity to make those remarks.
Senator LEHM.IN. The chairman wishes to make some very brief remarks, too.
I am grateful to the heads of the various Federal agencies for appearing here either personally, or through their representatives. 'I have been, of course, very greatly interested in the testimony.
But without questioning the value of the activities which these agencies carried on in the flood-stricken area, I want to point out that everything they have done so far has been under the authority of laws in the United States which have been on our statute books in many cases for a long number of years.
I want to express my disappointment once more: I do not believe that they have brought in any proposals or recommendations to this committee thus far which would in any way improve or care for a situation with which we are all familiar and which has been tragic in its results and which may be repeated at any other time in the future. We are just about where we started from.
I had very much hoped that under the leadership of the President that plans would be developed in the last 3 months which would permit this committee to go ahead vigorously and with very careful consideration to the development of a plan which would be in agreement with the administration and with the Members of the Congress.
No one for a moment thinks that the President himself could draft a plan. To suggest that would be furtherest from my thoughts. But
I believe that a plan should be developed or at least advanced under the direction of the administration, and I say that with full conviction because I have in mind the interest that the President has announced in flood disaster insurance.
I have in mind, too, the telegram which he sent as recently as October 17 to the Governors of the New England States in response to their plight in which he promised in these words—the President wrote, and I refer to his letter to the Governors, that the matter had been taken under close scrutiny some weeks ago. A number of Federal agencies were examining the proposal under the direction of the Bureau of the Budget, the Housing and Home Finance Agency, and the Senate Banking and Currency Committee would hold hearings on it later this month. The administration, he wrote-I am quoting the President—“Would present specific legislative suggestions at that time.”
I can't refrain from stating that that has not been the case. We have had no specific or even semispecific suggestions at these hearings. I would be derelict in my duties as a United States Senator and a former Governor of a great State did not I at this time express my very deep disappointment, and I hope that that disappointment will be mitigated very shortly by action on the part of the administration.
Senator Bush. Mr. Chairman, I, as a member of this committee simply wish to reassert what I said earlier in the day that I feel that the administration has complied with the President's statement and that it would have been a mistake for them to send in some half-baked bill on flood insurance at this stage of the game. This Congress is not in session. It couldn't act on a bill if it came right now. What we are doing is gathering testimony to find out what kind of a flood-insurance bill will be best suited to their country.
You and I agree that we need flood insurance. I think that the administration should have the advantage of the hearings the Senator is conducting and the information he is developing respecting this whole issue.
I personally hope that they will take full advantage of the record of these hearings in preparing the bill.
Senator LEHMAN. I do not wish to continue this discussion, which is a friendly discussion.
Senator Bush. Entirely friendly.
Senator LEHMAN. I merely wish to point out that several of us, even without the resources of the Federal agencies were able to draft bills, and I hope that the administration will do likewise so that we could consider this matter, interrogate witnesses with regard to specific recommendations, and that has not been made possible.
Senator Bush. Well, I simply say anybody can draft a bill, but the thing to do is to draft a bill that will work. I have no reflection on the Senator's bill. I haven't read it. I know the one that was drafted under my direction does not suit me at the present time. But I agree with the Senator that the discussion is friendly and I am ready to terminate it at this point.
Senator LEHMAN. All right.
I have some letters which will go into the record, together with any that may be received.
(The letters referred to follow :)
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
Washington 1, D. C., October 5, 1955. Mr. WILLIAM F. MCKENNA, Committee on Banking and Currency,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. MCKENNA: In accordance with our telephone conversation of a few days ago, I am passing along to you my comments concerning the Federal Flood insurance bill sponsored by Senators Saltonstall and Kennedy.
After reading the bill, I wonder whether the problem of getting a broad base of insurees has been met. Many people in New England who have been affected by the floods in recent years and those in areas beset by recurrent floods might be desirous of buying flood insurance, while people elsewhere might not show the same degree of interest. One might add that were it not for the recent hurri. canes, New England's interest might be considerably less.
This leads to the matter of the lack of information about the movement of hurricanes and their resultant floods. As many people are pointing out, our experiences with hurricanes in the eastern part of the country is still quite limited. Doubtless if New England became less affected in the near future, the stimulus for flood insurance from that part of the country would fall off considerably.
Further, the observation might well be made that vigorous activity with respect to flood control is being undertaken in certain areas subject to flood control. As these efforts become more effective, would it not be likely that there would be diminishing attention directed toward governmental flood insurance? Of course, as a general comment there are many who might, with good reason, take the posi. tion that public funds should be directed toward flood control, while insurance should be left to private companies. While it is true that private insurance is not now available, it might be made available if flood control becomes more effective.
The memorandum concerning the proposed bill makes reference to the Federal crop-insurance program. It should be noted, however, that the necessary base is secured in that program by the requirement of a minimum participation of 200 farms, or one-third of the eligible farms normally producing the insured crops in a county.
There seems to be no estimate of the probable costs of the insurance program to the Government. Is it possible that they would be of such magnitude as to divert money from flood control? I raise the question, then, as to whether it might not be advisable to have a more detailed study made before introduction of the bill. This involves more, of course, than taking testimony in a public hearing.
In our telephone conversation reference was made to an insurance proposal which Mr. Meyer Kestenbaum was considering while he was chairman of the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. I don't believe that he ever worked it out in detail. However, it might be noted that the discussion at that time was geared into Public Law 875 with respect to financial assistance to States and local governments. The insurance proposal involved premiums from the Federal and State governments and payments would be made for the purposes stated in the act. This, of course, is quite different from the program envisaged by the Saltonstall-Kennedy bill. Please feel free to call upon me if there is any way in which I can be helpful. Sincerely yours,
VINCENT J. BROWNE.
MIDDLEBURGH, N. Y., November 5, 1955. Senator LEHMAN,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR LEHMAN: Being one of the many victims of the recent flood in the Schoharie River Valley of New York State, I was asked to come to New York City on Thursday, November 3, to meet with a committee appointed to make a study of the flood situation. I was unable to meet with that committee, so a gentleman, Mr. Walsh, who called me on the phone suggested that I write to you.
This flood of October 15 and 16 surpasses anything in the history of Schobarie Valley. In 1903 I can remember a similar flood but not so high, not by 3 feet or more.
My particular loss was similar to a dozen other new homes built within the past 2 years and completely furnished. Water filled the cellars and covered the main floor to a depth of 13 inches. This caused the oil burner and electric hotwater heater to stop. It was harmful to all floor coverings and our upholstered davenport suite was ruined. These may sound minor things, but much worse two cellar walls fell in when the water was pumped out. One was a 42-foot wall and 1 a 14-foot wall—all in all, a loss of between $1,500 and $2,000.
Business places in town suffered extensive loss when their basements were filled with water and water flowed freely through furniture, grocery, and drygoods stores.
Perhaps greater than either of these are the farmer's loss. Acres and acres of corn can never be gathered, some vegetables covered with water were declared contaminated, and a great deal of the farmland was washed away or buried under heaps of stone and gravel.
Should some aid come to one and all in this stricken area, I assure you that it would be greatly appreciated. Yours truly,
EMMETT J. BARBER.
TESDALE, PA., November 11, 1955. SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE ON FLOOD INSURANCE,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN : I wish to present some suggestions in your study of possible Federal flood insurance.
1. That it be underwritten by an agency of the Federal Government, same as socialy security and deposit insurance.
2. That insurance be provided for all risks excluded from the standard fire policy, broad form.
3. That it be called Federal catastrophe insurance.
4. That it be compulsory upon all recorded titleholders to real estate in a minimum amount of $1,000 with an 80-percent coinsurance clause.
5. That no policies be issued—the contract of insurance to be embodied in the law.
6. That no bills be rendered to the insured for premiums, public announcement of the rate being considered sufficient notice.
7. That premiums become an absolutely first lien upon the real estate, taking precedence over all existing liens with penalities accruing plus interest on premiums unpaid.
8. That the insurance plan be operated on a no-reserve basis-each year's losses will determine the following year's premium rate and funds for the payment of losses be obtained by issuing short-term notes, the interest thereon to be wholly exempt from State and Federal taxation to secure the lowest possible rate of interest.
9. That there be no limit to the amount of insurance that may be carried on the real estate and improvements and personal property situated thereon and therein, subject always to an 80-percent coinsurance clause with losses limited to the actual cash value of the property at time of loss.
10. That lessees of real property be included on a voluntary basis.
Insurance of this magnitude could not possibly be underwritten by private interests and is therefore a proper function of Government. Very truly yours,
C. LEROY GLENN.
SUPREME LODGE OF THE WORLD,
LOYAL ORDER OF MOOSE,
Mooseheart, Ni., October 25, 1955. Hon. HERBERT H. LEHMAN,
United States Senator, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR LEHMAN : The attached is a copy of a resolution unanimously adopted by the Supreme Lodge of the World, Loyal Order of Moose, during our convention which was held in Philadelphia, Pa., August 26 to September 1, 1955.
Your endorsement of our request will be sincerely appreciated, and at the next session of Congress we trust that the suggested legislation will receive your support. Sincerely yours,
GEO. EUBANK, Supreme Secretary.
RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES TO TAKE COG
NIZANCE OF THE ACUTE PROBLEMS ATTENDING THE RECENT DEVASTATION RESULTING FROM DISASTROUS FLOODS AND OTHER NATURAL CAUSES IN THE NORTHEASTERN STATES AND ALONG THE ATLANTIC SEABOARD AND TO LEND SUPPORT FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION TO MAKE AVAILABLE ALL NECESSARY FUNDS TO AID THE STRICKEN AREAS, TO HAVE FLOOD CONTROL AND OTHER PREVENTIVE MEASURES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SURVEYED AND TO FINANCE THE CONSTRUCTION OF PROTECTIVE WORKS RECOMMENDED TO FORESTALL THE RECURRENCE OF THESE CALAMITOUS VISITATIONS UPON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
"Whereas there has been repeated recurrence of those natural phenomena in the form of hurricane tides, concentrated rainfalls and heavy snows which have caused hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars of property damage; and
“Whereas the Federal Government has long recognized the need for and consistently carried out flood-control and small-watershed-development programs, including measures to conserve precious water resources and preventive measures to safeguard our citizens and communities against the damages and dangers of disastrous floods; and
"Whereas the efficacy of such programs has been forcefully demonstrated by such instances as those in the Connecticut River Basin where the construction of a single reservoir in the present area of concentrated rainfall is credited with having saved $11,500,000 at a cost of only $3,275,000; while the completion of small levee projects in the same locality is credited with having saved lives and an estimated $33 million of property at an approximate cost of only $20 million; and
"Whereas there has been a regrettable reluctance upon the part of recent Congresses to appropriate the necessary funds required to construct recommended and authorized flood-control and watershed projects which, in the latest disastrous instances, might have resulted in the saving of hundreds of lives, the prevention of inventory and property damage and serious injury to important industrial concentrations for the production of essential defense and civilan needs: Therefore be it
"Resolved, That the Congress of the United States be memorialized to take cognizance of the acute problems presented and to lend its support to secure appropriate action towards the attainment of the following goals:
"1. That the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Agriculture instruct the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Recla. mation, and the Soil Conservation Service to undertake immediate investigations of the problems of protecting the cities and towns and other areas of the United States which have suffered recurrent damages from floods, including a study and reappraisal of reports, surveys, and recommendations that have already been prepared ;
"2. The authorization to construct, operate, and maintain such flood-control dams and other protective devices as such investigation, study, and surveys may recommend and the States and municipalities within the affected areas shall approve and accept; and
"3. Authorization to the appropriate agencies of the Federal Government to enter into agreements with the States and municipalities of interest to share the cost of construction and upkeep of such protective works; and be it further
“Resolved, That the Congress urge upon the Secretary of the Army, Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture that they proceed with all expedition to complete such flood-control programs as have been recommended, approved, and for which the required funds have been appropriated; and be it further
“Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the United States be, and they hereby are, respectively requested to urge upon Congress the expeditious passage of such legislation as may be needed to make all funds available as may be required to aid the stricken States, cities, and towns suffering from the latest flood disaster, and such additional funds as may be required to finance the protective works and other flood-control measures already recommended or which may in the future be recommended by the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Soil Conservation Service, approved by the Congress, and the States and municipalities of interest; and be it further
"Resolved, That the supreme secretary of the Loyal Order of Moose be, and he is hereby, directed to transmit copies of this resolution to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the