The Senate has passed by unanimous consent a bill that provides for a seven-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which is due to expire on Jan. 1.The Bush administration has signaled that it supports the Senate bill, but "strongly opposes" a House-passed bill that provides for a 15-year extension and expands coverage to include nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological acts of terrorism. The Senate bill includes a study of such expanded coverage. The House and Senate banking committee leaders will have to reconcile their differences when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break on Dec. 3. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has already suggested that a temporary 120-day extension may be needed. Meanwhile, real estate and financial services firms are hoping that a deal can be worked out quickly. "Extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance program is crucial to maintaining the smooth operation of the commercial real estate finance market," said Mortgage Bankers Association chairman Kieran Quinn.

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