Washington, DC – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement:
“Mr. President, yesterday the Senate banking committee passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005, and I look forward to the full Senate passing this legislation that is so vital to the economic well-being of this country.
“Mr. President, in 2002 I co-sponsored, and Congress passed, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, commonly referred to as TRIA. This important legislation provided a government backstop for the terrorism insurance market that disappeared after the attacks of September 11.
“The primary purpose behind TRIA, and the reason it needs to be extended, is to make sure that the American economy and markets function in the face of a terrorist threat. September 11 proved that there needs to be a mechanism in place to allow the economy to rebound more quickly and to protect American jobs in the unfortunate event of another terrorist attack here in the United States. Since it became law, TRIA has proven to be an effective program that has made terrorism risk insurance available and provided businesses meaningful access to coverage in a post-9/11 world.
“TRIA is a temporary program set to expire at the end of this year, which created significant uncertainty in the terrorism insurance market and threatened to stall construction and building projects across the country. Most lenders who finance these projects require borrowers to have terrorism risk coverage, but in the face of TRIA’s looming expiration, that coverage became more difficult and expensive to get, making those projects infeasible. Recognizing these problems early in the year, Senator Dodd and Senator Bennett drafted TRIA extension legislation, which I co-sponsored.
“Mr. President, although slightly different from the what I co-sponsored, the legislation that passed out of the committee yesterday essentially maintains the structure of TRIA and extends the program through the end of 2007. I am disappointed that group life insurance will not be covered under the program and that other lines originally covered have been excluded. But my colleagues Senator Dodd and Senator Sarbanes worked closely with Senator Shelby and others on the committee to construct a product that all of us in the Senate should be able to support.”