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Financial Services Committee Democrats Call for Transparency in TRIA Debate

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Washington, DC, July 15, 2014 | comments

As House Republicans prepare to set parameters for the upcoming debate over legislation to fundamentally change the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), 27 Democrats on the Financial Services Committee have called for a full, open debate on the legislation.

In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Rules committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), the lawmakers renewed their concerns with the Republican TRIA proposal, known as the TRIA Reform Act, and asked for the opportunity to address those issues on the House floor through an open amendment process.  The Act was passed despite strong opposition by every Democratic member of the Committee, as it makes dramatic changes that would jeopardize a program that has created jobs, spurred economic growth, and protects our nation’s economy from the costs of a terrorist attack.

Led by the Committee’s Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), the letter was written in response to reports that Republican leaders will prohibit floor amendments altogether, fearing bipartisan consensus to change the legislation. It echoes the Democratic concerns with the measure and underscores the wide array of stakeholders and job creators who share them.

“Several provisions of H.R. 4871 are causing concern amongst our nation’s businesses, real estate industry, employers, sports and entertainment industries, universities, insurers, and others,” the lawmakers wrote. “Additionally, we have recently received letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society, expressing serious concerns with several of the bill’s provisions and urging the House to allow for a process to address these concerns during floor consideration. We write today to echo these concerns and ask for the opportunity to address them in a responsible manner during floor consideration. To do so, we urge a full and open amendment process on H.R. 4871.”

The letter cites a number of the most serious concerns, which include a 500 percent increase to the dollar amount that would trigger the program; different treatment of conventional attacks as opposed to those that are nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological; and increased recoupment burdens, among others.

Last week, one prominent Republican expressed his concerns with the legislation as written – and indicated he is not alone. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) pledged to oppose the bill if it were to come to a vote without changes, and expressed his belief that several Republicans would do the same.

Created in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the successful TRIA law brought terrorism coverage back to the market affordably, by requiring insurance companies to offer coverage in exchange for a federal backstop used to protect against only the largest terrorism-related events. Since then, the program has created jobs, ensured certainty in the marketplace and protected both U.S. national and economic security, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

The text of the letter is below. A signed copy can be found here.

 

July 14, 2014

 

The Honorable John A. Boehner                               The Honorable Pete Sessions
Speaker                                                                   Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives                                 Committee on Rules
H-232, the Capitol                                                   H-312, the Capitol
Washington, D.C.  20510                                        Washington, D.C.  20514

Dear Speaker Boehner and Chairman Sessions:

As the House moves forward in consideration of H.R. 4871, the TRIA Reform Act of 2014, we urge you to allow a fair and open process that will allow for a full debate on this legislation.

Since its enactment in 2002, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) has made terrorism coverage available and affordable by requiring insurance companies to offer coverage to commercial entities in exchange for a federal backstop used to protect against only the largest terrorism-related events. This widely successful program has created jobs, fostered certainty in the marketplace and protected both U.S. national and economic security, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

Despite widespread support for the reauthorization of TRIA, several provisions of H.R. 4871 are causing concern amongst our nation’s businesses, real estate industry, employers, sports and entertainment industries, universities, insurers, and others. Prior to the House Committee on Financial Services markup of H.R. 4871, the Committee received letters from a wide range of stakeholders expressing concerns with three main areas of the bill: the 500% increase to the program trigger; the bifurcation of conventional and nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological attacks; and increased recoupment burdens.  Additionally, we have recently received letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the CRE Finance Council, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society, expressing serious concerns with several of the bill’s provisions and urging the House to allow for a process to address these concerns during floor consideration.

We write today to echo these concerns and ask for the opportunity to address them in a responsible manner during floor consideration. To do so, we urge a full and open amendment process on H.R. 4871.

Sincerely,

Maxine Waters (CA), Ranking Member 
Carolyn B. Maloney (NY)
Nydia M. Velázquez (NY)
Brad Sherman (CA)
Gregory W. Meeks (NY)
Michael E. Capuano (MA)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX)
Wm. Lacy Clay (MO) 
Carolyn McCarthy (NY)
Stephen F. Lynch (MA)
David Scott (GA)
Al Green (TX)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO)
Gwen Moore (WI)
Keith Ellison (MN)
Ed Perlmutter (CO)
James A. Himes (CT)
Gary C. Peters (MI)
Terri A. Sewell (AL)
Bill Foster (IL)
Daniel T. Kildee (MI)
Patrick Murphy (FL)
John K. Delaney (MD)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)
Joyce Beatty (OH)
Denny Heck (WA)
Steven Horsford (NV)

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Tags: TRIA



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