Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Wednesday vowed to push for Congress to reauthorize its terrorism insurance program (TRIA), which will expire when the clock strikes midnight on 2014.

In an interview with the Hartford Courant published Wednesday, Blumenthal promised to “make it a priority” to provide guidance to businesses about the future of the program, which acts as a federal backstop for businesses following a massive terror attack.

{mosads}“I’ve been in very extensive communication with businesses in Connecticut and, frankly, around the country who are very, very concerned about this potential lapse in coverage,” Blumenthal told the Courant. “They are also very understanding that we’re going to make it a priority.”

Congress failed to pass a six-year TRIA reauthorization bill because of partisan spats on unrelated riders that were included in the legislation, which has broad support in both parties, but some conservatives oppose it.

Businesses have expressed concern about the disruption of the program, which was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Roger Dow said in a statement to The Hill that his organization will push for clarity on the issue from leaders in both chambers.

He said the travel industry was “crippled” after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“That could happen again if there were another terror incident with TRIA expired — and merely the uncertainty this kind of inaction creates in the meantime tends to discourage businesses from investing and creating jobs,” Dow said.

Jimi Grande, a senior vice president at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), said they’re working to have Congress “act immediately” to reauthorize the program.

“As the clock strikes midnight and most Americans celebrate the coming of the New Year, many businesses across America will be launched into an uncertain and confusing 2015,” Grande said. “The lapse in this program is not some academic market experiment nor are we talking about theoretical market reactions.”

The U.S. Travel Association and NAMIC are part of a broad coalition of businesses that are pushing for TRIA’s reauthorization.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) were charged in the last Congress with brokering a TRIA compromise.

Hensarling had argued that TRIA put taxpayers at risk by making them responsible to bail out businesses after catastrophic attacks. He pushed to increase the threshold for government involvement from $100 million worth of damage following an attack to $200 million that was included in the final bill.

Tags Jeb Hensarling Richard Blumenthal Terrorism insurance TRIA
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