Senate Tria vote unlikely this week

Senate Tria vote unlikely this week

As things stand, the future of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act will not be settled this week, sources close to the matter have told Reactions.

The bill was set to be debated on Thursday Dec 11, the last official day of the legislative session.

However the bill is being held up by outgoing Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who has publicly objected to an addition to the bill which would create the National Association of Insurance Agents and Brokers (NARABII) and would seek an amendment allowing states to opt out of the programme.

Coburn was originally in favour of Tria when the Senate voted to extend the programme in July but the addition to the bill of the NARAB II legislation has compelled him to hold up a vote on the legislation.

Under Senate rules individual members can place an anonymous hold on any vote, thereby preventing it from reaching the Senate floor.

This appears to be the case with Coburn and Tria.

However Senators can override these holds through a cloture vote which would then allow the vote to take place.

This would then place a 30-hour cap on debate thereby forcing a vote on a bill.

Reactions has been told that this could potentially happen on Saturday, if enough support can be garnered, which would mean any vote or session on Tria would then be postponed until next week.

However this is not guaranteed and if Tria is to be successful it will need the support of the Democratic leadership in the Senate.

Senate Democrats must actively support the bill in front of them if any cloture motion to prevent a Coburn hold, or potential filibuster is to be successful. 

The bill however, is opposed by Democratic leadership in the Senate over attempts by Republicans in the House of Representatives to attach an unrelated "end-users" alteration to the Dodd Frank to Tria renewal.

The House voted on Tria renewal at around 4:30pm on Wednesday December 10 on an amended version of the Senate’s bill, S. 2244, which extends the programme for six years.

In the House the bill passed in an overwhelming bi-partisan vote - with 417 votes supporting the proposal to just seven against. The bill also raised the loss trigger of the programme to $200m, a sharp decline from the $500m originally proposed by House Financial Services Committee chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

In its final form, the new Tria legislation in line with the compromise deal between Hensarling and Democratic Senator Charles "Chuck" Schumer (D-NY), which Reactions was made aware of last week.

However, the House also voted to alter the Dodd Frank Act and change the law, so that non-financial institutions do not have to follow some of the same restrictive financial regulations as investment banks a proposal supported by Hensarling and his committee.

Democrats in the Senate now face the prospect of either opposing the amended version of their own bill, which is overwhelmingly similar to the bill the Senate passed to extend Tria in July, or supporting the bill despite their reservations over the changes to Dodd Frank.

Senator Schumer has vocally supported extending Tria, but said on Dec 11 that the House should pass a clean bill, without the additions, before it leaves for the holidays.

This, Reactions has been told, will not happen. The bill before the Senate is, at the moment, the only foreseeable means by which Tria can be extended before it expires at the end of the month.

While this means Tria is not dead yet, the situation remains as it was at the begging of Thursday morning in that it needs the support of Senate Democrats. If they follow the same tactic as their party colleagues in the House, who unanimously voted for the bill in its current form, it is likely that Tria will be extended next week.

If they choose to oppose it then Tria will not be renewed.  

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