Legislative Activity

Lawmakers May Extend TRIA and Consider Insurance Capital Standards in the Lame Duck

As Congress returns to Washington, lawmakers may focus on a few agenda items beyond appropriations legislation. Particularly, Congress may look at reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), at least through a short-term extension.  Earlier this year, the House Financial Services Committee and the full Senate both approved legislation to reauthorize TRIA, which is set to expire on December 31, 2014. However, the House and Senate versions of the legislation differ substantially. Despite the differences in the legislation, both chambers have focused on the need to reauthorize TRIA and this debate is likely to continue during lame duck.

Additionally, lawmakers may consider legislation on insurance capital standards. Earlier this year, both the House and Senate passed measures to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) to ensure that bank-like risk-based capital standards are not applied to insurers. While the Senate passed this legislation as a standalone measure, the House incorporated the legislation into a broader package of bills amending the Dodd-Frank Act. While the Senate has expressed concerns regarding the package of bills, lawmakers may be willing to consider an insurance capital standards bill, if the House passes it as a standalone measure during the lame duck session.

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to Hold Hearing on Wall-Street Banks

On November 20 and 21, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a two-day hearing titled “Wall Street Bank Involvement With Physical Commodities.” The hearing is a result of a two-year bipartisan investigation and will examine the extent to which banks and their holding companies own physical commodities such as oil, natural gas, aluminum, and other industrial metals, as well as own or control businesses such as power plants, oil and gas pipelines, and commodity warehouses. Senator Levin, whose is retiring this year, has been a particularly strong proponent of regulating the financial services industry. His chairmanship will likely be followed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

This Week’s Hearings

  • Thursday, November 13: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “Terrorist Financing and the Islamic State.”
  • Thursday, November 13: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Ms. Lourdes Maria Castro Ramirez, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Ms. Therese W. McMillan, of California, to be Federal Transit Administrator, U.S. Department of Transportation.