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Time to act before terror backstop expires


The effort to extend the federal terrorism insurance backstop has passed a critical milestone.

As we report on page 1, the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises approved an amended version of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act last week.

While it took much longer than we expected, the subcommittee's vote set the stage for the full committee to act this week before lawmakers leave for their August break.

We hope that means lawmakers have realized that time is truly of the essence with this bill. The backstop will vanish at the end of the year unless Congress extends the program. We hope that--given the probability that the full committee will bestow its blessing upon the bill this week--the full House will take up the matter as soon as possible after it returns in September.

The Senate has yet to produce its own version of the measure, and we freely confess that makes us a bit nervous. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee tends to operate by consensus and building consensus around any piece of legislation takes time. And time is one thing that's not overly abundant in this case.

Now that a significant milestone has been passed, it's imperative that the effort pick up speed to assure that the backstop's guaranteed to continue for the longest time politically possible beyond the end of the year.