Schumer, Coburn oppose House terrorism insurance bill

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday signaled opposition to the House's reauthorization of the government's terrorism insurance (TRIA), putting the program at risk.

Coburn told the Associated Press he will block the TRIA bill if an amendment isn't added to allow states to opt-out of the national program, and, separately, Schumer balked at the House bill because of changes it makes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

“By playing games and refusing to pass a clean extension of terrorism insurance, the House Republicans have put terrorism insurance at risk," Schumer said in a statement. "To ensure that terrorism insurance does not lapse, the House should pass the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate with 93 votes before they leave town today."

ADVERTISEMENT

The House passed a bipartisan, six-year TRIA reauthorization on a 417-7 vote Wednesday. TRIA, which allows for the federal government to recoup costs for businesses after a massive terror attack, is set to expire at the end of the year.

Coburn has vowed opposition to the bill, complicating its prospects at the eleventh hour.

"We're totally taking away the right of a state to control its own destiny in terms of insurance," Coburn told the AP. "I'll be fighting the House bill."

Schumer joined liberal Senate Democrats and the White House in insisting that they prefer a clean TRIA reauthorization. The Senate passed a TRIA reauthorization bill in July on a 93-4 vote that included bipartisan tweaks to Dodd-Frank.

But Schumer wants a provision removed from the House TRIA reauthorization bill that would change Dodd-Frank so that nonfinancial institutions — so-called "end users" — do not have to follow some of the same regulations as big banks.

Meanwhile, the White House stopped short on Wednesday of threatening to veto the House's TRIA reauthorization, only saying it had concerns about the "end users" provisions.

"The House passing the overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate bill is the only way to guarantee that this critical program remains in place," Schumer said.

The New York Democrat had negotiated TRIA reauthorization with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). Hensarling had pushed for reforms to the program, arguing that it put taxpayers at risk to recoup expensive costs after terror attacks.

Hensarling agreed to a long-term, multi-year TRIA extension provided that the threshold for when the government intervenes to repay costs doubled from $100 million to $200 million.

— Updated at 11:30 a.m.