The countdown to the end of the calendar year inevitably involves a checklist of unfinished business, things that have to "get done."

The travel industry has been reminding Congress that a key item on that list is the extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a 2002 law that enables the federal government to help insurers cover losses stemming from terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Travel Association and other supporters say that the shared-risk program has played a key role in the economic recovery, by making terrorism insurance coverage commercially available at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.

In September, U.S. Travel joined a broad coalition of groups urging Congress to renew the program before it expires on Dec. 31. The initiative included airlines, lodging companies, theme parks, ground transportation firms, state and local tourism agencies, insurance and real estate organizations and many others, including the National Football League, Nascar and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

So far, the Senate has acted but the House has not. This is the reverse of the situation facing Brand USA, the national tourism promotion agency, which has been reauthorized by the House but not by the Senate.

We don't expect politicians in Washington to see eye to eye on much these days, but we think the case has been made that these two programs, which promote economic expansion without contributing to the deficit, deserve to be moved over to the "done" column.
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