WASHINGTON – The House passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday to reinstate the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act by a vote of 416 to 5. The legislation stalled in the Senate in the last Congress, causing the 2002 law to expire.
A joint undertaking by the private and public sectors to protect the U.S. economy in the event of a terrorist attack, the Terrorism Risk Insurance law was designed to ensure that jobs and businesses remain afloat and that taxpayers are protected from the full financial load of a terrorist attack, should one occur.
“The goal of TRIA [the insurance law] was to make terrorism insurance available and affordable, and that is exactly what has been done,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said on the House floor Wednesday.
Maloney stressed that the bill was “critical” for New York. “After 9/11, you could not even build a hot dog stand,” she said. “All construction stopped.”
During the period between Sept. 11, 2001, and the passage of the legislation in June 2002, an estimated 300,000 jobs were lost, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said in a statement Tuesday he had high hopes the legislation would pass with an “overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.” It did.
Along with support from both sides of the aisle, Maloney presented a letter from 28 business stakeholders in favor of the bill, highlighting that “support for reauthorization for TRIA is deep, and it is strong among the business community across the country.”
In a brief interview with Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., he spoke about the protection the insurance provides to the American people and economy against the severity of the structural damage caused by terrorism.
”When the terrorists hit our bridges, our landmarks, they want to go after symbols of our greatness, and as long as we don’t move without having this backstop of insurance, they can keep us on our knees in rubble,” Scott said. “But now we’re springing into action, and these communities can be rebuilt, and our industries can rebound.”