Does the life of an irrelevant legislation amendment begin at conception, and when should it be aborted?
Sen. Rand Paul is holding up a vote on a key flood insurance extension bill in the midst of hurricane season, because he wants to add an amendment that says life begins at conception. The bill, which would extend FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program for five years before it expires at the end of July, has no real connection to the abortion issue, but does impact millions of Americans living in areas susceptible to extreme weather.
Sen. Paul, a Tea Party favorite, told Talking Points Memo he was "Just trying to get a vote for the people who elected me." Paul says he will take a free standing vote on the amendment—a common legislative procedure that would allow the bill to move forward separate from the addition—but Democratic leader Harry Reid isn't having it. "We'll either do flood insurance with amendments dealing with flood insurance," he says, "or we won't do it."