House sets up vote on terrorism insurance

The House will likely vote as soon as Wednesday to reauthorize the federal terrorism insurance program.

The program expired on Dec. 31 after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on keeping it in place.

Republican leaders have put reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) on fast-track procedure, which means the legislation will require a two-thirds majority to pass.


That should be an easy hurdle to clear, as the House passed a six-year extensions of the program on a 417-7 vote in December, with all seven of the "no" votes coming from Republicans.

The measure died in the Senate because liberals opposed riders attached to the bill that they said would weaken Wall Street regulations.

A broad coalition of business groups has pressured lawmakers to reauthorize TRIA, which allows for the federal government to act as a backstop following a catastrophic terrorist attack.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) worked with Republican leadership to ensure that a vote would happen this week, according to sources familiar with the issue.

An industry source said that there would be "no substantive changes to the bill that passed last year."

The White House stopped short of saying it would veto the TRIA bill last year, despite saying it had concerns with the Wall Street provisions that upset some Democrats.

Hensarling said in a statement that "the only reason TRIA expired is because the Democratic-controlled Senate failed to even bring that bipartisan bill up for a vote."

"The House will once again lead on this issue and bring up the same bipartisan bill that 196 House Democrats voted for less than a month ago.  Just as before, this bill will also bring greater certainty and stability to Main Street businesses," Hensarling said. "I look forward to yet another overwhelmingly bipartisan vote for this legislation.”

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.), who took the lead for the upper chamber in the last Congress in negotiating with Hensarling, said that he was "optimistic [lawmakers] can renew TRIA quickly."

"There is a short grace period before coverage from many insurance companies will be unavailable, making moving quickly all the more important," Schumer said. "We’re confident there is broad support for getting the program renewed, and I’m going to do all I can to make sure that happens, but adding controversial provisions that are unrelated to TRIA only serves to add further uncertainty to the market and TRIA’s reauthorization in the short term.”

Jimi Grande, a senior vice president at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), which is supportive of a long-term extension, said the group is encouraged by the swift action in the House.

Grande said that the business community hopes the Senate will "match the urgency" of the House with a quick vote on keeping the program.

Financial Services Roundtable CEO and former Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty praised Hensarling's move.

"Reauthorizing TRIA is critical to protecting our economy, and we are pleased to see the House acting quickly to move on this important legislation," Pawlenty said. "We urge the Senate to move this issue forward without delay."

Don Stewart, spokesman for incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 Hoyer: Democrats 'committed' to Oct. 31 timeline for Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ky.) spokesman, said no Senate timelines have been set.

"We're working to pass this unfinished business from the last session, but I don't have a time frame just yet," Stewart said. 

Last updated at 6:20 p.m.