Recent legal and legislative developments at the state level regarding asbestos (see here and here) got us thinking about Congress. It was just a few years ago, 2006, that Congress came very near to passing a broad asbestos settlement, i.e., S. 852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act.
As the NAM explained in a key vote letter, asbestos litigation has a major, damaging impact on business, the economy and workers, too.
Litigation over claims for asbestos-related ailments has spiraled out of control. To date, asbestos litigation has forced more than 70 companies into bankruptcy, costing an estimated 60,000 jobs, a 25 percent decrease in the value of workers’ 401(k)s and significant losses for shareholders. This is bad for workers, companies and the U.S. economy. Most importantly, the current system is hurting those who it should be helping the most: asbestos victims.
So a big deal, right? And since the legislation stalled out, surely there must be a renewed push in the current session of Congress to take on this jobs-destroying problem.
Surely. Here’s the one piece of legislation introduced this year with the word “asbestos” in it.
S.Res. 57: Designates the first week of April 2009 as National Asbestos Awareness Week. Urges the Surgeon General to warn and educate people about asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to their health.
Passed by unanimous consent. Problem solved.
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