THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013

For Immediate Release:

November 13, 2013

Contact:

Katie GrantStephanie Young, 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes”

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

**Members are advised that today the House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 687 – Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (Rep. Gosar – Natural Resources). As of September 26, 2013, the House had completed all debate on the bill. Today, the House will vote on the remaining amendment, offered by Mr. Lujan, motion to recommit and final passage of the bill.

H.Res. 403 – Rule providing for consideration of both H.R. 982 – Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013 (Rep. Farenthold – Judiciary) and H.R. 2655 – Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013 (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary) (One Hour of Debate). The Rules committee has recommended one Rule which provides for consideration of 2 bills.

For H.R. 982, the Rules committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary.  The Rule allows for 3 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

For H.R. 2655, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.R. 982 – Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013 (Rep. Farenthold – Judiciary) (One Hour of Debate). This bill would change the rules of the tort system with regard to asbestos-related injuries by requiring quarterly reports of claims made against the trusts and any payouts made by the trusts to asbestos victims.  These reports would include the names, exposure history, and amount of payments made from the trust to each claimant.  The requirement that asbestos trusts make available on the court's public docket the names of each claimant, together with the other required information, will likely lead to the disclosure of private medical and health information. 

The bill would also require asbestos settlement trusts to provide outside parties to any lawsuit concerning liability of asbestos exposure with additional information on payments made by such trusts, no matter how irrelevant that information may be, as well as on claims for compensation that have been filed with the trusts. The bill’s disclosure requirements will increase the trusts' administrative costs, forcing them to file burdensome reports and lead to higher costs, delays in the processing of claims and lowered compensation to victims of asbestos.

The bill will only benefit those responsible for asbestos injuries and harm asbestos victims and their families by invading their privacy and slowing the claims payment process.  Moreover, H.R. 982 is inequitable because it mandates disclosure by the trusts, but does not require solvent defendant companies to disclose information about the injurious effects of the products they manufactured or hazardous working conditions they imposed on their employees.

The Rule makes in order 3 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:

Rep. Cohen Amendment. Exempts from the bill asbestos trusts with internal antifraud procedures.
Rep. Nadler Amendment. Protects public health and safety by adding a requirement that any party seeking payment information from a trust must also make available information relevant to such action that pertains to public health or safety.
Rep. Jackson-Lee Amendment. Applies the transparency rules in the bill equally to asbestos industry defendants by requiring asbestos companies to report information about the location of their asbestos-containing products and provides an exception for trade secrets.

Democratic Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 2642 – Farm Bill (Rep. Loebsack) (1 hour of debate)

Postponed Suspension (1 bill)

  1. H.Res. 196 – Supporting the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to counsel, as amended (Rep. Deutch – Judiciary)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, November 14: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider H.R. 2655 – Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013 (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary).

 
The Daily Quote

“And so, with a little more than a year left in his current term, the nation’s 53rd speaker faces a choice: He can spend the next year much like the last, trying to reconcile the rambunctious tea-party wing of his conference with more-moderate Republicans in a stand against Democrats in the Senate and the White House. Or, he can work with House Democrats and a loose coalition of roughly 30 Republicans who have teamed in the last year to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, supply funding for victims of Hurricane Sandy, and end the government shutdown.”

-    National Journal, 11/12/13