The Senate on Nov. 17 passed bare-bones legislation extending the federal backstop for terrorism risk insurance for 7 years–through 2014–but without any of the additional provisions contained in the House bill, such as including group life in the extension.
The decision sets up a confrontation with the House, with Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., issuing a statement “insisting” that provisions in the House bill be included in final legislation.
It is unclear when talks will begin to reconcile the two bills. Congress is in recess and won’t return until Dec. 3.
The current extension of the terrorism risk legislation expires Dec. 31, and when Congress returns, it will have a huge backlog of must-do legislation to work on.
In response to the Ackerman comments, the American Council of Life Insurers issued a statement agreeing with him, noting that he “is right when he says TRIA is incomplete without group life.
“Millions of workers rely on group life as the primary life insurance protection for their families,” said Jack Dolan, a spokesman for the ACLI. “Moreover, group life has the same risk characteristics as workers’ compensation.
“By including group life as a covered risk under TRIA, Congress will help assure that this vital employee benefit is not disrupted by an act of terrorism,” Dolan added.
In his comments on Senate passage, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, did not reiterate comments he made in October saying he would demand an extension of the current program until April 30 rather than accept the more-modest Senate bill.
“I am pleased the Senate passed TRIA,” Frank said. “We have a month now; we will be back for a couple of weeks in December and I think it is very important that we begin conversations about a compromise.”
He added, “I look forward to a formal conference, or otherwise, with the Senate, and I will consult very closely with the New York members of our committee who will have a major role in this.”
Ackerman, as he noted in his statement, is a “senior” member of the House Financial Services Committee, and principal author of several provisions of the House bill. In his comments, he “applauded” the Senate’s action. But, in his statement, he “insisted” that a final bill “contain the more expansive provisions in the House-passed version.”
Ackerman explained that “passage of TRIA’s extension by the Senate continues to keep the momentum swinging.”