Super Bowl caught in terrorism politics

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Congress’s failure to reauthorize its terrorism insurance program (TRIA) has Democrats and Republicans blaming each other for risking cancellations of future Super Bowls.

Congress needs to reauthorize TRIA before the end of the year, or it expires, but the Senate failed to act, and lawmakers are headed home.

{mosads}TRIA allows for the federal government to recoup costs after a massive terror attacks. The House passed a six-year reauthorization bill on a 417-7 vote last week that would allow for the government to bail out businesses impacted by a terror attack exceeding $200 million in damage.

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 as planned regardless of lawmakers’ actions.

The NFL — with its more than 30 football stadiums nationwide — as well as the other major sporting leagues joined an alliance of business, tourism and banking groups urging lawmakers to reauthorize the program. 

“It’s unclear how we move forward with a number of high-profile events in the near future, including the Super Bowl and the upcoming college football playoff,” said one senior Democratic aide. “Republicans just injected a world of uncertainty into a process that has worked well for the past 12 years.”

A senior House Republican aide charged that “the U.S. Senate is endangering the future Super Bowls by dangerous obstructionism on TRIA.”

“The House overwhelmingly scored by passing TRIA in a bipartisan manner with time to go before an expiration like the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII,” the Republican aide said.

Congress created TRIA after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and, until this year, it was easily reauthorized with widespread support.

But this go-around, TRIA hit partisan roadblocks due to unrelated provisions that were attached to the package. 

Retiring-Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) chose to block the bill because of an unrelated provision. Meanwhile, some Democrats objected to another unrelated provision they argued would weaken Wall Street regulations.

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