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Democrat Smoke and Mirrors on Senate’s Abysmal TRIA Failure
Posted by on December 17, 2014

This morning, Washington Democrats are feverishly trying to spin Harry Reid’s decision to prevent the Senate from taking a vote on the bipartisan House-passed bill to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. 

From their seats on their flights home for the holidays, Democrats are trying their hardest to blame TRIA’s demise on the inclusion of a technical clarification of the Dodd-Frank law that, as a standalone measure, passed the House almost unanimously.  That might be true if facts did not get in the way.  Rep. Maxine Waters—the highest ranking Democratic Member on the Financial Services Committee—called this Dodd-Frank language “a truly technical fix” that “would clarify the intent of Dodd-Frank.” 

The truth is that the Senate’s failure to bring the TRIA reauthorization to the floor has nothing to do with the Dodd-Frank clarification.  If that were the case, the bill would not have attracted the support of 417 members of the House, including every Democrat who voted.  And as Politico notes, “Senate Democrats were begrudgingly willing to clear the TRIA package for the president’s signature.” 

The Senate’s failure on TRIA had nothing to do with Dodd-Frank; it has nothing to do with Sen. Coburn’s objection.  It has everything to do with Harry Reid.

He simply refused to bring the bill up in the Senate.  He decided that the bill would either pass by unanimous consent or, apparently, not pass at all.

All Harry Reid needed was a cloture vote and 30 hours (the amount of time permitted for debate after a motion to proceed is agreed to).  He could have easily found 30 hours during the lame duck; timing wasn’t the problem—it was courage.  He chose to prioritize, and fill an entire weekend with, cloture and final votes on other matters instead of TRIA, including judicial and executive branch nominations that were far more controversial than the House’s almost unanimously approved TRIA bill.  Thanks to Leader Reid, on January 1st, the United States will not have a terrorism insurance program, but at least now we will have a newly confirmed Commissioner of Reclamation.

The bottom line:

The House passed a bipartisan TRIA reauthorization bill 417-7.  The Senate’s response? Quit working, leave town, and kill TRIA.

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