On Friday, Oct. 11, House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4634, the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019,” to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for ten years through 2030. The current TRIA provisions expire at the end of 2020. Chairwoman Waters’ bill, which is co-sponsored by 27 bipartisan Members who serve on the HFSC, would make minor adjustments to several specific program dates contained in the existing law, but preserves each of the underlying provisions that form the foundation of the current program intact for another decade. A joint hearing before the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance and the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy on the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16.
TRIA was established in the wake of 9/11 to provide a federal risk sharing mechanism to help insure against losses resulting from foreign and domestic terrorist attacks. Nareit and the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT), representing the insurance policyholder community, have been instrumental in previous reauthorizations that have resulted in a program that protects the taxpayer and limits the government’s exposure to only the most extreme terrorist events while preserving the availability of terrorism risk insurance in the current marketplace.
In September, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to every Member of Congress urging Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization of TRIA with no major changes as soon as possible. In other words, a “clean” bill. The letter was signed by more than 350 business interests, including Nareit and CIAT. H.R. 4634 is consistent with the sentiments expressed by the business community when it comes to reauthorizing TRIA.
Nareit commends Chairwoman Waters for her leadership on this issue and for introducing this long-awaited legislation. Nearly half of the Members serving on the HFSC, including three Republican members, are to be commended as well for being original co-sponsors of H.R. 4634. This bipartisan support is recognition of the critical role TRIA has played in our society for nearly two decades, and an understanding that without it, our economy – and American jobs – would be exposed to the negative consequences from a terrorist attack just as they were after 9/11. The introduction of this bipartisan legislation is the first step by the 116th Congress in what may be a long journey toward achieving a long-term reauthorization before the end of next year that continues to promote economic growth, provide certainty for commercial development and job creation across the county, while protecting the taxpayer.
Currently, similar legislation has not been introduced in the U.S. Senate. However, Nareit is working with other interested parties in pursuit of a “clean,” long-term reauthorization bill being introduced in the Senate later this year.