Senate panel set to move on terrorism insurance extension

The Senate Banking Committee is looking to move legislation extending a government backstop for terrorism-prone targets before it expires at the end of the year.

The panel announced plans for a Tuesday markup of legislation extending and tweaking the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).

ADVERTISEMENT
That program, created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, allows the government to step in and provide assistance to insurance companies if they face huge claims stemming from a terrorism attack. The program has twice been extended by Congress, and faces another expiration at the end of 2014.

In April, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) unveiled a seven-year TRIA extension bill, along with several Senate Republicans. The measure, which would make several tweaks to require the private sector to shoulder a larger share of the costs, has since garnered 23 co-sponsors.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and the top Republican on the panel, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), have both signed on as co-sponsors, suggesting smooth sailing for the bill through the panel.

However, some conservatives, particularly in the House, have raised questions about extending yet again a program initially intended to help the nation navigate through the largest terrorist attack in its history. A number of bills extending the program have been offered in the House. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who represents an area near New York City but is grappling with legal issues, was a loud GOP advocate for the program.

Major business groups, hotel chains and professional sports leagues have actively pressed Congress to extend the program.