Today, in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, led members of the Democratic caucus in calling for a long-term renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which is set to expire at the end of 2014. The Ranking Member was joined by key members of Democratic House leadership, Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY).
Also in attendance were prominent members of the Financial Services Committee, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Dan Kildee (D-MI). In addition, Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Susan Bonamici (D-OR) were in attendance.
In her remarks, Waters underscored the importance of renewing TRIA promptly to protect American jobs, businesses and the economy. Her full remarks are below.
A webcast of the press conference is available here.
“Thank you all very much for coming here today. And thank you to Leader Pelosi, Whip Hoyer and all the other members of the Democratic caucus who have joined us to discuss this important issue.
We are here today at the 11th hour -- making every effort to save the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
We should not have to be here today. Not for a program that is designed to ensure we are able to reconstruct and rebuild our neighborhoods after a terrorist attack.
But Tea Party Republicans have pushed this program – which has broad bipartisan support – to the brink of collapse. And the impact on American construction, jobs and the economy could be devastating.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act – known as TRIA – has a very straightforward purpose: to provide affordable terrorism insurance to our nation’s stadiums, businesses, venues and tourist attractions.
After September 11, many insurance companies stopped offering protection for damages incurred in a terrorist attack. In response, Congress enacted the backstop known as TRIA – and mandated that insurance companies continue providing this important coverage.
By ensuring terrorism insurance is affordable and available – TRIA gives businesses the confidence to continue investing, creating jobs and growing the economy. It allows construction and economic development to continue. And it ensures major hubs of commerce – like Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of LA – continue bringing tens of billions of dollars in economic development into California – and the American economy.
To this day, TRIA has not cost taxpayers one dime.
We are at the brink of this important program’s expiration. And although a majority of Democrats and Republicans agree that terrorism insurance should be extended for the long-term, a handful of extremist Republicans – led by Chairman Jeb Hensarling – continue to block the program from moving forward.
Although Mr. Hensarling’s bill to radically reform TRIA lacks the votes to pass the House, he continues to cling to elements of his proposal that are simply nonstarters for Democrats in the House and Senate – and many within his own party. His idea of reform would effectively dismantle this program.
Specifically he’s insisting on treating so-called “conventional” terrorist attacks differently than those involving a chemical or radiological element.
Terrorism is terrorism. The method used to carry it out does not matter. We need to avoid differentiating between types of attacks. Doing so is a slippery slope.
Negotiations are currently ongoing between House and Senate leaders. I’ve spoken to Senator Schumer – who is working hard to convince Mr. Hensarling that renewing this program is good for America.
But until Mr. Hensarling agrees to move away from the unreasonable policies he continues to support, I – and the members of the Democratic caucus – will continue to stand before the American people with a simple message: we need to act now to extend the terrorism insurance program, to protect our nations’ workers, businesses, and the broader economy.
Today we call on Republican leadership to stop giving in to the extreme elements of their party – and renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act today.
We cannot afford to let this program lapse now.”