From AAIA AutoFacts
WASHINGTON — A motion to limit Senate debate and proceed with consideration of asbestos trust fund legislation failed yesterday by ten votes (50 – 47). Sixty votes are needed for such “cloture” motions to pass.
Democrats argued that the bill, S. 2290, was not ready for Senate consideration and called for further negotiations to reach compromises on key issues such as higher compensation amounts paid by the fund to eligible victims. Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), announced plans for bipartisan talks to craft a bill that can be passed this year.
S. 2290 replaces Sen. Orrin Hatch’s original bill, S. 1125, which AAIA supported, as providing a fair and final “no fault” solution to the ever worsening asbestos litigation crisis. The certainty and finality of the Hatch approach were lost in the Senate Judiciary amendments to the bill last July, which increased the cost to defendants and included “sunset” provisions that could send cases back to court if funds ran low. The current bill, S. 2290, would further increase the cost to defendants while also providing for a return to litigation if necessary. Given that the parties are billions of dollars apart in terms of the funding needed to compensate victims, it seems certain that a compromise bill would increase yet again the burden on defendants, according to AAIA.
AAIA said it will work with the Asbestos Alliance and Senators to achieve, if possible this year, an asbestos bill that is fair and balanced for affected industry members of all sizes.
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