CHANTILLY, Va. — President Barack Obama signed the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA)-endorsed six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in mid-January, ending a congressional negotiation process that saw the TRIA legislation expire Dec. 31, 2014, as the 113th Congress ended.

For SMACNA and the commercial-industrial construction industry, TRIA’s passage and extension was a major victory after an uncertain legislative process. SMACNA and the TRIA coalition praised Congress and President Obama for cooperating to extend the legislation as a rare overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House and Senate, indicating the value of a critical program to preserve economic certainty and provide for economic resiliency in the face of a catastrophic event.

SMACNA, construction, labor, and contractor allies joined a vast coalition of business, athletic, and tourism groups enthusiastically advocating for the program, which allows for the federal government to pay businesses after catastrophic terrorist attacks exceeding $200 million in damage.

TRIA garnered widespread bipartisan support with the House passing the legislation in the first days of the new 114th Congress on a 416-5 vote. The Senate passed TRIA by mid-January on a 94-4 incomplete vote. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, negotiated a deal pushing for the $200 million threshold — double the former $100 million threshold.

Congress first created TRIA in 2002, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and it hasn’t been used since its creation. However, most businesses rely on the program’s existence to provide economic certainty when they are purchasing terrorism insurance on the private market.

Publication date: 2/23/2015

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