The House conceded the obvious today and passed the Senate version of legislation extending the federal backstop on terrorism reinsurance without any provision for group life insurance.
The vote was 360 in favor to 53, with 3 Democrats joining 50 Republicans in voting against the measure.
Also left out of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act extension was a provision that would have limited insurers in using travel destination as a factor in underwriting life insurance policies.
But House Democrats did not accept the inevitable before taking some shots at the Senate, especially at Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee, who insisted that the Senate version would have to carry the day.
Both Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., railed against the lack of communication the House had with the Senate.
Rep. Ackerman said during the debate he was introducing a bill today that would add a provision to the Senate bill that would increase terrorism risk insurance capacity for certain properties. Its provisions would apply to buildings in urban areas seen as prime terrorism targets where there is currently a shortage of such capacity available, even with the current TRIA program’s so-called reset provision.
But, he said, “Santa Claus is not going to give America terrorism risk insurance for Christmas, and we don’t live with the Easter bunny in the Senate’s Candy-Land, where catastrophic risk can be comfortably ignored.”
Rep. Ackerman added that, “Saying ‘the market will provide’ doesn’t make it true.”
“I do regret the breakdown in the U.S. Senate of the legislative process,” Rep. Frank commented. He explained that “We were told the senior Republican on the committee, the gentleman from Alabama [Sen. Shelby], simply refused to meet with us.”
He asked members of the Senate “not to put themselves in a position “where there is a one-person veto.”
Rising in support of the legislation, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., ranking minority member of the House Financial Service Committee, called it a good compromise.