NU Online News Service, June 10, 12:45 p.m. — Washington

In an effort to prod Republicans on the issue of terrorism insurance legislation, Democratic leaders in the Senate introduced a bill, S. 2600, and challenged Republicans to work with them to get it enacted.

The action took place late Friday, when Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., formally introduced the bill using a parliamentary maneuver that bypassed the usual committees.

This means that the sponsors could bring the bill directly to the floor of the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. At this writing, it was uncertain when Daschle would do so.

Although the text of S. 2600 was not available at this writing, sources said the bill would institute a quota share program. The federal government would pay up to 90% of losses caused by terrorist acts, subject to a company-specific retention.

On the controversial issue of tort reform, S. 2600 would bar punitive damages against the government.

Dodd said in a statement that he had hoped the Senate could address the terrorism insurance issue in a united, bipartisan way.

“Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and the clock continues to tick,” he said. “That’s unacceptable.”

In a statement on the floor of the Senate, Reid, charged that Democrats have tried many times to get Republicans to agree on a procedure to move terrorism legislation forward.

“We have been very willing to work with them in any way to move this forward,” he said.

He noted that the issue has been tied up over the issue of tort reform. However, Reid said, if some people believe that more tort reform than that already in S. 2600 is needed, they can offer an amendment.