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Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey: Defeat S. 852, the Asbestos Trust Fund
Sends letter to the U.S. Senate
By Adam Brandon on February 08, 2006
On behalf of our more than 700,000 members nationwide, FreedomWorks strongly encourages you to oppose the asbestos trust fund, S. 852, that is currently under consideration on the Senate floor.
S. 852 is simply bad public policy. The creation of an asbestos trust fund is not tort reform; it is the creation of a new government program that is staggeringly complicated and unworkable, a program that is funded by a $140 billion new tax on businesses and insurers. It unfairly benefits a handful of insider companies. It pays $7 billion in tax dollars to trial lawyers. Once in place, it will be difficult to limit the scope and duration of the asbestos trust fund. And, as both independent analysts claim and as our experience with the Black Lung Trust Fund shows, S. 852 is woefully underfunded and will make even greater demands on U.S. taxpayers in the years to come.
It is our belief that supporters of responsible and limited government should not support the creation of a new multibillion dollar federal program.
The bottom line: The Specter-Leahy Trust Fund approach to asbestos reform is flawed in the most fundamental way—it tries to solve an underlying legal problem by creating a new government program.
Instead of a Trust Fund, FreedomWorks believes a medical criteria bill, like H.R. 1957, is the responsible way to address the asbestos crisis. Using medical criteria to hear cases and make awards is fair and makes common sense, and is already working in states like Ohio. Sound medical criteria legislation will allow the courts to deliver compensation to the truly injured.
I appreciate your consideration of these views and look forward to working with you to stop S. 852 and instead create an appropriate response to the asbestos litigation crisis.