Schumer: Terrorism risk renewal will pass Senate

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that the Senate will pass the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), despite an unrelated provision that some Democrats say would weaken Wall Street regulations.

“The good news is that TRIA will pass today,” Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor.

{mosads}Still, he accused Republicans of “monkeying around” with the six-year TRIA reauthorization bill by including an unrelated provision amending the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law so that nonfinancial institutions — often called “end users” — do not have to follow some of the same regulations as big banks.

“I’m glad it won’t kill the bill but it never should have been there to begin with,” Schumer said in his floor speech. “It should be reauthorized without political jockeying and attempts at point scoring.”

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) responded to Schumer’s criticism by saying Dodd-Frank’s authors never intended for the law to be applied to end users.

“End users were not intended to be covered,” he said on the Senate floor.

The bill is expected to be approved by the Senate one day after a terrorist attack on a French newspaper left 12 people dead. The House approved the legislation on Wednesday, and President Obama is expected to sign it.

While the Treasury Department has also opposed the end user language, it stopped short of saying that would draw opposition to the underlying bill.

“We support a long-term renewal of TRIA, given the important role it plays to our national security and economy, while making sensible reforms to further reduce taxpayer exposure,” the Treasury spokesperson said. “It is unfortunate that some are attempting to use TRIA legislation to modify the Wall Street Reform Act.”
Schumer joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in offering an amendment that would remove the end users provision from the legislation. Because of the new Republican majority, it’s not expected to pass.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also criticized the provision in a Senate floor speech.

“This is legislation that needs to pass, there’s strong bipartisan support across the board [but] special interests get special treatment,” Brown said. “It begs the question, ‘Did we learn nothing less than a decade ago … from the greed on Wall Street?’ ”

Brown called it “the latest Republican effort to roll back Wall Street reform.”

TRIA is a federal program that allows for the government to repay businesses after a catastrophic terror attack. 

Schumer and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) were charged with negotiating a deal last Congress before the program expired on Dec. 31.

Their talks fell apart largely because of the end users provision, but also because Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who has since retired, opposed another rider attached to the bill that would create a nonprofit clearinghouse for insurance agents. He pushed for states to be able to opt out of the program.

Schumer accused Hensarling of attempting to further weaken their agreement earlier this week, but on Thursday said they had reached “a good compromise.”

“At the end of the day, I was able to negotiate a deal with [Hensarling,] who was at best a reluctant supporter of terror insurance,” Schumer said.

Tags Charles Schumer dodd-frank Jeb Hensarling Terrorism risk insurance Wall Street reform

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