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Permanent terror backstop needed: Sen. Dodd

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WASHINGTON--The incoming chairman of a key Senate committee has reiterated his support for a permanent extension of the federal backstop for terrorism coverage.

Speaking at a news briefing Thursday in Washington, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., described the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act as "critically important" and added that his goal is to enact a permanent backstop program and not a temporary fix. Sen. Dodd in January will become chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over TRIA.

He acknowledged that the Bush administration is opposed--at least on ideological grounds--to a permanent TRIA extension but added that he intends to work closely with the administration to try to develop a consensus.

Additionally, Sen. Dodd said he would like to begin work on TRIA legislation soon after the new congressional session begins in January and not in the fall "crunch time," when enacting legislation becomes more difficult.

The current TRIA extension will expire Dec. 31, 2007.

Sen. Dodd also said he is asking insurers and policyholders to work together to develop common ground on a lasting solution.

Separately, Sen. Dodd said he will consider proposals to establish an optional federal charter for insurers but has not yet formed an opinion on whether it should be allowed.