December 17, 2014
Congress Fails to Pass Legislation to Extend and Reform TRIA: Program Set to Expire at Year-end
Late last evening, the U.S. Senate adjourned for the year without completing action on S. 2244, the "Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014," a bipartisan bill that would have reformed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and reauthorized it for six years through 2020. The House of Representatives passed the proposal on Dec. 10 by a vote of 417-7, following earlier Senate passage of a different version of this bill in July. Inaction by the Senate means the 113th Congress, which adjourned sine die last night, failed to reauthorize TRIA, and the program will now expire on Dec. 31.
TRIA was enacted following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a federal plan for economic continuity and recovery after a severe terrorist attack on the U.S. The law has previously been extended and modified twice on a bipartisan basis and was on schedule to be reauthorized again before year-end. NAREIT and its partners in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) worked aggressively with the House and the Senate during the past year in order to secure a bill that all interested parties, including CIAT, could support. The strong and overwhelming vote in the House for S. 2244 set the stage for a similar outcome in the Senate this week, especially since the Senate had passed its earlier proposal by a vote of 93-4.
Because the House of Representatives had already adjourned for the year, the Senate was left to pass the House-amended proposal and to send it to the President for his signature. Unfortunately, senators were unable to resolve objections regarding provisions which were added to the bill by the House and which were not related to TRIA. The controversial provisions were a section authorizing an insurance broker registration across state boundaries, known as NARAB, and language reforming a section of the Dodd-Frank law adopted by Congress in 2010.
CIAT released a statement this morning expressing profound disappointment that senators could not set aside their differences on these two non-TRIA provisions and provide for a long-term reauthorization of TRIA.
"We are extremely disappointed that the 113th Congress failed to pass legislation that would have provided measured reforms to TRIA and reauthorized the program for another six years," commented NAREIT President & CEO, Steve Wechsler. "Since 2002, TRIA has protected taxpayers and limited the government’s exposure to only the most extreme terrorist events while preserving the availability of terrorism risk insurance in the current marketplace. It has been critical to U.S. economic stability and security in the face of the ongoing terrorism threat. With the lapse of TRIA, our economy – and American jobs – will be exposed once again as they were in the months after 9/11. NAREIT and CIAT will work with leadership of the new Congress convening in January 2015 to rectify this untenable situation as soon as possible."
Earlier today, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said in a statement, "We expect the House will act very quickly in the new Congress to reauthorize this program."