TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE REVISION AND EXTENSION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - September 19, 2007)
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Mr. BAKER. I thank the gentleman for yielding and am appreciative of this time.
I wish to express my appreciation to committee leadership for attempting to address a most difficult subject matter. I have had some interest in this matter for a period of years, and understand the difficulty of crafting a remedy to which all Members may agree.
However, I have been troubled by the characterization that there would be Members, if voting ``no'' on this measure, would be ideologues voting for some unusual reason rather than in the Nation's best interests or in the Nation's recovery effort in the great city of New York.
It would be of note, I think, to the body to recall that it was November 29, 2001, at 4:37 p.m., in this august body when the House had a recorded vote 2 months after 9/11 on the adoption of the very first Terrorism Risk Insurance Program. You will find in the Record, which I have a copy of should it be needed for review, Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Israel, Mr. Kanjorski, Mrs. Maloney, Mrs. McCarthy, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Serrano, Ms. Slaughter, Mr. Weiner, Ms. Waters, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Meeks, Mr. McNulty, Mr. Engel, Mr. Frank all found it appropriate and the right discharge of duty to vote ``no'' on the terrorism reinsurance proposal adopted two months after 9/11.
Now, I have no criticism to be made of those Members for taking that action. They did what they thought best for their constituents in that window of responsibility. I would merely point out that in the bills that we have passed on two occasions in this House under Republican leadership, we looked upon this responsibility as a loan to the industry to help them at a time of serious liquidity crisis to be able to withstand this assault, meet their financial obligations to the insureds, and move forward. But at such time as it was determined the crisis had passed, there was a mandatory obligation to repay the taxpayers of the United States the generosity that was extended in the form of a bridge loan and to give back to the taxpayers their generosity which enabled the industry to survive.
This bill does not require mandatory repayment of assistance. It is, in fact, a gift to the industry in a time of crisis, which is appropriate. But in the period of time in which the industry returns to profitability, is it wrong to say, ``Taxpayers, here's your money back. You helped us in a crisis, now it's time for us to repay your generosity''? I think that is a pivotal cornerstone of whatever we do going forward in assisting sectors of our economy which have untoward experiences that we cannot predict, where there is serious economic dislocation. But it is not right to give away the taxpayers' money without accountability.
For that reason alone, I suggest Members, who may choose to do so, could oppose this legislation and do so on a philosophical basis that is purely defensible. There are many other reasons why some may have concern.
Now, I will be quick to acknowledge that I worked with the gentleman from New York in addressing one serious flaw, and I appreciate the gentleman's willingness to extend that courtesy and fix that one significant difficulty with a legislative proposal. I am appreciative of that, and I look forward to working with him as they go forward through this process.
The bill today is flawed, and I would hope you would seriously consider a ``no'' vote.
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