The end of the “Lame Duck” session had mixed results for REALTORS. The Senate missed an opportunity to approve a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) that passed the U.S House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill died when Senators were unable to reach an agreement that would have allowed the bill to proceed.
Congress did enact a series of tax extensions. The “Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act” is included in the package approved by the U.S. House and Senate. It included a provision that will prevent underwater borrowers from paying taxes on any mortgage debt forgiven or cancelled by a lender in a workout or after their home was sold for less money than was owed.
However, one of the first bills passed by 114th Congress was the TRIA legislation. The Senate passed H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, by a vote of 93-4. This bill passed the House yesterday (by a vote of 416-5), and will now be sent to the President for signature into law.
The bill is a 6-year reauthorization, keeping the TRIA program going through 2020. It also reduces the government’s exposure to risk by increasing the “trigger” amount from $100 million to $200 million, and raises the mandatory recoupment amount from $27.5 billion to $37.5 billion. Otherwise, it makes few changes to a program that has kept Terrorism Insurance affordable and available throughout the country since 2002, at virtually no cost to taxpayers.