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House set to vote on Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

Following weeks of intense lobbying, a vote to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) is expected to take place in the House of Representatives tomorrow (Wednesday).

The program was dealt a blow last month when lawmakers failed agree on a way to keep it in place.

“We will work with both Houses of the new Congress and both sides of the aisle to move a bill within the next few weeks, because the economy of our country, good paying jobs and enormous tax revenues for the nation and local municipalities depend on this law, a program that has not cost the taxpayers a single dollar to date,” said REBNY president Steven Spinola at the time.

A report in The Hill on Monday noted that Republican leaders have now put reauthorizing TRIA on fast-track procedure, which means the legislation will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

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, according to The Hill. 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.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney blamed Tea Party politicians for standing in teh way of the bill.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY

“Their obstructionism will reap negative economic consequences on businesses throughout our country,ˮ she warned at the time.

“The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act is essential to New York City’s economy and the economies of other cities that continue to be terrorist targets. The failure to extend it will have a very harmful effect,ˮ said Maloney. “Without TRIA, new development projects will be stalled, and there will be substantial financial uncertainty for current policy holders. Since banks often require ‘all risk’ policies in order to provide financing, the elimination of TRIA could place property owners in default on their loans. Sporting and other entertainment events at major venues could be canceled.”

Sen. Charles Schumer told The Hill he was “optimisticˮ TRIA could quickly be renewed by lawmakers.

“There is a short grace period before coverage from many insurance companies will be unavailable, making moving quickly all the more important,” Schumer told the publication.

“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.”

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