This week, Congress will consider a federal government funding package that includes three of PIA National’s most important policy priorities: an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until September 30, 2020, the permanent repeal of the Cadillac Tax, and an extension of the terrorism risk insurance program (referred to as TRIA) through the end of 2027. The House is expected to consider and pass the package on Tuesday, December 17, and the Senate will take it up later in the week. The president is expected to sign the legislation into law before federal government funding runs out this coming Friday, December 20. Please see PIA National’s press release here.
Seven-Year TRIA Extension
The funding package includes a seven-year reauthorization of the terrorism risk insurance program without substantive changes, but it does include two notable additions: a requirement that the Treasury Department assess the availability of insurance for houses of worship, and a request to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the potential costs of cyber terrorism, a risk that has not historically been addressed in the program. PIA National has been actively advocating for the long-term reauthorization of the TRIA program throughout 2019, and we’re pleased this has been accomplished more than a year before its scheduled expiration of December 31, 2020.
Nine-Month NFIP Extension
The NFIP will be extended until September 30, 2020 as part of the federal funding package. The program is currently on its 14th short-term extension since its last long-term authorization expired in 2017. The House Financial Services Committee unanimously passed a PIA-supported long-term reauthorization of the program with necessary reforms in June 2019. However, progress has stalled since. While it’s disappointing that the program will again be extended on only a short-term basis, the nine-month extension will provide us with more time to work with Congress to ensure the ultimate passage of a robust long-term reauthorization. PIA National strongly supports the House Financial Services Committee-passed legislation and will continue to advocate for its passage in the House and Senate.
Cadillac Tax Repeal
PIA National was able to obtain a major victory in the funding package on a health care issue on which we’ve been lobbying for years: the repeal of the “Cadillac tax,” a 40 percent excise tax on certain employer health plans. Enacted as a part of the Affordable Care Act, the Cadillac Tax has never been implemented, due in large part to advocacy by PIA members, who have led multiple successful efforts to delay it, most recently until 2022. The tax would apply to employer health plans and tax policies with limits that exceed the annual thresholds of $11,100 for individual coverage and $29,750 for family coverage. Over time, more and more employer-sponsored health plans will be affected, because the benefit thresholds will increase at a rate slower than that of inflation.
The repeal of the Cadillac tax has long been a priority for PIA National, and we championed the legislation that passed the House this summer to repeal the tax. Its inclusion in the funding package is a major victory for PIA National and for employer-sponsored health plans.
PIA National is urging the House and Senate to pass the funding package this week.