House to Vote Today on Legislation that would Deny, Delay Justice for Asbestos Victims
The U.S. House of Representatives will meet this afternoon to consider the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency” Act or House Resolution 982. The asbestos bill is one-sided and would serve to only delay and deny justice to victims of asbestos who have already suffered needlessly at the hands of corporate interests.
The Administration issued a Statement of Policy, or SAP, yesterday opposing the bill because it’s based on the “false assertion that there is endemic fraud” in the asbestos bankruptcy system. Multiple independent studies prove any fraud is negligible.
The SAP also addressed the other concerns with the asbestos bill, including intrusion of privacy and security risks inherent in the legislation’s reporting requirements. It also stated the bill is inherently harmful to veterans as they are disproportionately affected by asbestos-related diseases.
An excerpt of the SAP(PDF) is below.
“The bill’s mandatory reporting and disclosure requirements would threaten asbestos victims’ privacy when they seek payment for injuries from an asbestos bankruptcy trust. Claimants’ sensitive personal information – including their names and exposure histories – would be irretrievably released into the public domain and thus available to parties unrelated to the claims (including insurance companies, prospective employers, lenders, and data collectors). These parties could then use this personal information for purposes entirely unrelated to compensation for asbestos exposure, potentially to the detriment of asbestos victims. The information on this public registry could be used to deny employment, credit, and insurance. Victims would be more vulnerable to identity thieves and other types of predators. These requirements could be particularly harmful to veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States, who have been disproportionately affected by asbestos.”
According to The Hill, the House will start by debating the rule for the asbestos bill, then consider up to three amendments. Finally, it will debate the bill and the amendments before voting on the bill sometime in the early evening.
Please contact your Representative today and tell them to oppose H.R. 982. The bill only harms asbestos victims by delaying and denying justice to those who need it most.