Chamber to key-vote terrorism insurance bill

The Chamber of Commerce is pushing lawmakers to reauthorize the federal government's terrorism insurance program and will score members on an upcoming vote.

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Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for government affairs, wrote to lawmakers on Tuesday saying it would use Wednesday's House vote on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for its congressional scorecard.

"Since its initial enactment in 2002, the program has served as a vital public-private risk sharing mechanism, ensuring that private terrorism risk insurance coverage remains commercially available and that the U.S. economy could more swiftly recover in the event of a terrorist attack," Josten wrote.

The House is scheduled to take up the six-year TRIA reauthorization bill that Congress failed to pass before the program expired on Dec. 31.

The measure passed the House easily last year, but Senate Democrats derailed the bill because of riders attached to it that they said would weaken Wall Street regulations.

The White House has said it would not veto the bill, which is backed by a broad range of business groups.

TRIA allows the government to act as a backstop in the event of a catastrophic terror attack.

Tea Party critics, though, say the program could leave taxpayers on the hook for insurance payouts.

The original program would allow for the government to intervene if the costs exceeded $100 million. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) negotiated to increase that threshold to $200 million, arguing that it would reduce taxpayers' risk.