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.Read More
The House today will vote on legislation extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for six years and include reforms designed to lessen the financial cost taxpayers would face in the event of a terrorist attack.
The bill preserves several non-TRIA related pieces of legislation contained in the Senate bill as well as what House Democrats have previously described as a "technical fix" and "clarification" to a certain provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Democrat Maxine Waters, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, called the same Dodd-Frank language that's included in the TRIA reauthorization “a truly technical fix” that “would clarify the intent” of Dodd-Frank when the House debated it as a separate bill last year.
That bill was overwhelmingly approved by the House 411-12, with 181 Democrats joining all Republicans in voting for it.
Ranking Member Waters and fellow committee Democrat Carolyn Maloney, who earlier characterized the Dodd-Frank clarification that's now in the TRIA bill as an effort to correct “a drafting error in Dodd-Frank” and “not an attempt by opponents to weaken the safeguards,” reiterated their view before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.
Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) hailed the legislation not only for its multi-year extension of TRIA but also for the taxpayer protection reforms it includes.
“Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly support a long-term reauthorization of TRIA, and I’m very pleased this is that long-term reauthorization that I and many others have sought. In addition, this legislation advances the cause of taxpayer protection. It includes reforms that double the amount of losses from a terrorist attack that would result in a government backstop and it actually ensures – for the first time in the program’s history – that the taxpayers are compensated for the government’s use of their hard-earned dollars. That might be an uncommon concept on Wall Street or in Washington, but it’s a common sense concept for all who are on Main Street.”
Chairman Hensarling also noted that the technical clarification to Dodd-Frank “would clarify that Main Street businesses, farmers and ranchers – who had nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis – will no longer be subject to an onerous misinterpretation of the language of Dodd-Frank. Both former Chairman Barney Frank and former Chairman Chris Dodd, as well as the current Ranking Member, have said this misinterpretation is a mistake.
“This is a very technical clarification to what we call the end-user provision, which is perhaps the most expensive and unnecessary regulation that Americans have never heard of,” said Chairman Hensarling.Read More
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The bills, many of which had previously attracted solid bipartisan support in the House Financial Services Committee, are common sense steps to promote job creation, said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
“Incomprehensible Washington regulations complicate the lives of consumers, make investors less willing to invest, and deny small businesses access to investments that create jobs. The House is once again taking bipartisan action to eliminate costly, outdated and unnecessary red tape and now the Senate needs to do the same. The Senate has become a graveyard for good ideas that are overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and Democrats and that can help create good jobs. It’s well past time for the Senate’s obstruction to end,” said Chairman Hensarling.
The House approved the following bipartisan bills today:
H.R. 3240, the Regulation D Study Act sponsored by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), is designed to help consumers manage their personal finances. Regulation D is an early 1980s-era policy that limits consumers to six remote transfers between their checking and savings accounts per month. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to make recommendations to Congress about updating banking regulations to reflect modern technology such as online banking and ATMs. The bill was approved 422-0.
H.R. 4569, the Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act, sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ). This bipartisan bill will help investors navigate lengthy and confusing company disclosures by allowing public companies to submit a summary page of all material information included in annual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. The bill directs the SEC to also simplify financial reporting requirements for small and emerging growth companies. Doing so would reduce unnecessary impediments for small businesses seeking investment capital and also lessen the “disclosure overload” that overwhelms investors and makes it more difficult for them to locate relevant information about public companies. The House passed the bill by voice vote.
H.R. 4200, the Small Business Investment Companies Advisers Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). H.R. 4200 amends the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to reduce unnecessary regulatory costs and eliminate duplicative regulation of advisers to Small Business Investment Companies, which are professionally-managed investment funds that finance small businesses. Freeing up money that currently goes toward fees and duplicative regulatory compliance will allow more funds to flow directly to job-creating small businesses. The bill passed the House by voice vote.
H.R. 5471 sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) clarifies the Dodd-Frank Act’s treatment of affiliates of non-financial firms that use a central treasury unit (CTU) as a risk-reducing, best practice to centralize and net the hedging needs of affiliates. Without a clear legislative exemption, non-financial companies may either have to eliminate the CTU function, be subjected to increased regulatory costs, or retain more risk on their balance sheets and pass along that risk to customers in the form of higher prices. H.R. 5471 would enable non-financial companies with affiliates to continue employing best practices to manage internal and external trading in order to mitigate risk within a commercial entity. The bill was approved by voice vote.Read More
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“I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to pass laws that help grow the economy from Main Street up, not Washington down,” said Chairman Hensarling. “Our committee will continue to focus on promoting sensible solutions that help create jobs and hold both Washington and Wall Street accountable to the American people."
The subcommittee chairmen for the 114th Congress:
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) will serve as Chairman of the Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) will serve as Chairman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) will serve as Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) will serve as Chairman of the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) will serve as Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
The remainder of the committee leadership team will be announced at a later date.Read More
“I am humbled by the support and trust of my colleagues as I continue my service as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. House Republicans know the only real way to grow the economy is from Main Street up, not Washington down. Our committee will continue to focus on promoting sensible solutions to hold both Washington and Wall Street accountable to the American people."Read More
“Year in and year out the SEC has failed to act on many, if not most, of the recommendations provided by the Forum. In fact, a number of reforms contained in the bipartisan JOBS Act and other bipartisan bills passed by the Financial Services Committee are based on Forum recommendations that the SEC ignored. It’s not enough for the SEC to simply talk about promoting small business; it needs to take action – like Congress and our committee has done – on innovative ideas that will help small businesses and create jobs.”
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