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Obama signs TRIA despite Dodd-Frank provision

President Obama signed on Monday a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) that included a provision progressives opposed to change the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Law. 

It ended a terse Congressional negotiation process that saw the TRIA legislation caught in lawmakers' political wrangling.  

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A vast coalition of business, athletic and tourism industry groups lobbied heavily for the program, which allows for the federal government to pay businesses after catastrophic terrorist attacks exceeding $200 million in damage. 

But the bill included an unrelated provision opposed by progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (D-Mass.). 

The measure scraps a number of Dodd-Frank financial regulations on several financial services industry sectors, dubbed "end users" in Washington speak. Republicans and centrist Democrats argued that these restrictions were only intended for big banks. 

Prior to signing the legislation, White House officials and many Democrats criticized Republicans for including the "end users" provision in the bill, though Obama stopped short of issuing a veto threat. 

It comes as House Republicans are set to vote on another piece of legislation this week that would tweak Dodd-Frank. The White House has already threatened to veto that legislation, which would delay Dodd-Frank's implementation of the legislation's so-called "Volcker Rule" until July 2019. 

The Volcker Rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, requires that financial institutions only be able to hold a certain amount of  financial trades known as "collaterized loan obligations" (CLOs), which many economists view as a riskier form of financial trading. 

Despite the "end users" provision, TRIA garnered widespread bipartisan support, with the House passing the legislation earlier this month on a 416-5 vote, with only Tea Party hard-liners opposing. 

The Senate passed TRIA last week on a 94-4 incomplete vote. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley says if Trump runs for president in 2024 then she won't Trump's early endorsements reveal GOP rift The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges MORE (R-Fla.) opposed the legislation because he viewed the program as "corporate welfare." 

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTop academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act NY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) negotiated a deal, with Hensarling pushing for the $200 million threshold — double the amount of the former $100 million threshold. Hensarling and other Tea Partiers had argued that TRIA puts taxpayers at risk of bailing out big businesses.  

Warren and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAmazon workers have spoken — are progressives listening? What's really behind Joe Biden's far-left swing? It's time to declare a national climate emergency MORE (I-Vt.) and Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellAgainst mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE (D-Wash.) opposed the legislation because of the Wall Street provision. 

Congress first created TRIA in 2002 after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and it hasn't been used since its creation. However, most businesses rely on the program's existence to provide economic certainty when they are purchasing terror insurance on the private market. 

For the insurance industry, the bill was a victory after an uncertain legislative process. Lawmakers failed to reauthorize the legislation before the last Congress ended, so the program expired on Dec. 31.

Nat Wienecke, senior vice president of federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), praised Obama for signing the legislation.

"The overwhelming bipartisan votes in the House and Senate are a testament to the need for this critical program to preserve economic certainty today and provide for economic resiliency in the face of a catastrophic terrorist event," Wienecke said.