Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, today said work continues on pressing the Senate to expand its version of the federal terrorism risk insurance program extension bill.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act extension law that now authorizes continuation of the terrorism risk insurance program expires Dec. 31.

The House has passed a 15-year extension bill that would add group life insurance to the program, protect insurers against events involving weapons of mass destruction, and include many other provisions sought by insurers.

President Bush has threatened to veto a broad terrorism program extension bill.

The Senate has responded to the veto threat by passing an extension bill that makes few changes to the program. The most significant change would be a provision that extends the terrorism risk insurance program to include domestic terrorism.

Fiscal hawks in the Senate are welcoming passage of the Senate’s relatively narrow TRIA extension bill and emphasizing the need for quick action on the bill.

“Hopefully, the House, if they want to get it done, will take what we do and pass it,” Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said Friday.

But Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said he is insisting that the final version of the bill passed by Congress bring back some of the provisions, including the group life provision, from the more expansive House version of the bill.

In October, Frank said he would demand an extension of the current program until April 30 rather than accept a more modest Senate version of the bill.

On Monday, Frank said he was pleased by the Senate’s passage of a relatively narrow terrorism risk program extension bill.

“We have a month now,” Frank said. “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. … 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.