Terrorism risk bill dies amid finger pointing

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) blocked the Senate from holding a final vote on Tuesday night to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), likely killing the bill for the year. 

Coburn, who had threatened to take the action, refused to agree to a unanimous consent request that would have set up a final vote on the measure that would have required a 60-vote majority for passage.

Senate leaders could have still sought to move the bill under normal Senate procedures, but that would have kept them in session for days.

They quickly blamed Coburn for killing a bill that Republicans and Democrats have been bitterly fighting over in Congress’s closing days.  

{mosads}“His objection is going to kill TRIA,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday night, referring to Coburn.

“If we change the bill it’s gone,” Reid said. “Amending the TRIA bill would just be another way to kill the TRIA bill.”

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a statement after Coburn blocked the vote that criticized both Coburn and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) for the impasse.

Schumer and other Democrats opposed a provision included by Hensarling that they said would have weakend Wall Street regulations.

“Several weeks ago I warned Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] that if he followed Jeb Hensarling’s dangerous gambit, he risked killing terrorism insurance,” Schumer said in a statement. “Tonight, Sen. Coburn struck the final blow when he objected to bringing the bill to the floor.”

A senior Democratic Senate aide argued that if Hensarling and GOP leadership hadn’t included the Wall Street regulation in the TRIA package, then TRIA could have been included in the omnibus.
“Coburn wouldn’t have blocked if it was in the cromnibus and risk a government shutdown,” the Democratic staffer said.
A senior Republican House aide countered that Schumer and Democrats are “embarrassing themselves by trying to blame the House, which voted 417-7 with every Democrat voting yes.”

“Reid and Schumer refused to file on this bill. Absolutely refused. They chose instead to prioritize — and fill an entire weekend — with controversial nominations,” the GOP staffer said.  
House members left town last week after passing the terrorism bill with the Hensarling language.
The federal program creates a backstop for the insurance industry in the case of a terrorist attack. It was created after 9/11.
Some have speculated that if the next Congress doesn’t immediately pass an extension it could lead to the cancellation of the Super Bowl, though the NFL said Tuesday that the game would go on.
Coburn had announced his opposition to the bill due to another of the measure’s provisions.
The provision encourages insurance agents to register into a national, nonprofit clearinghouse. Coburn wanted states and agents to be able to “opt-out” of the federal clearinghouse.

This story was updated at 10:21 p.m. on Dec. 16 and at 4 p.m. on Dec. 17. 

Tags Harry Reid Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Tom Coburn TRIA

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