Democrats urged business leaders to pressure President Bush to get involved and House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay to stop blocking renewal of the federal terrorism insurance backstop if they want it to be approved.
“The Democratic side is all taken care of but we can’t get it to a committee vote or onto the floor,” said Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), a ranking minority member on a key subcommittee and advocate for renewal of the Terror Risk Insurance Act. He indicated that DeLay is blocking consideration for “ideological reasons” but that if a vote were permitted today, the TRIA extension would pass.
Speaking at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Kanjorski said that the business leaders should focus their pressure on DeLay and also tell the White House to “get somebody on the field who knows how to quarterback.” He said Democrats have been frustrated by the refusal of Republicans to bring up the bill.
In submitted remarks to the conference, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (-D-Nev.) said there is no reason for Congress to wait for a June report from the Treasury Department before acting to renew TRIA.
“That’s too late and waiting until summer to make a decision creates too much uncertainty for the real estate, construction and insurance businesses,” Reid said.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), chief deputy majority whip and a key Republican on TRIA, agreed that it is “time to get off the dime” on TRIA.
Leading insurance organizations participated in the Chamber symposium along with real estate, construction, mortgage and other business groups. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) was also scheduled to speak.