Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pelosi: Republican Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Legislation Seeks to Protect Their Special Interests Friends

To: National Desk

Contact: Brendan Daly or Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616, both of the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in opposition to H.R. 420, the so-called "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act," which benefits Republican special interests and undermines civil rights plaintiffs. Below are Pelosi's remarks:

"Mr. Chairman, here we go again. The madness continues. Once again, the Republicans must prove that they are the handmaidens of the special interests by putting this bill on the floor today. Just when we should be talking about creating good jobs for the American people, expanding access to quality health care, broadening opportunity in education, having a strong national defense, and doing it all in a fiscally sound way, the Republicans are wasting the time of this Congress and testing the patience of the American people with legislation that is frivolous.

"It is something that is another reflection of the culture of cronyism that exists under the Republican leadership in Washington, D.C.

"This legislation before us again seeks to protect their friends. The outrageous venue provisions in the Republican bill give defendant corporations special advantages by overriding state minimum-contact provisions and limiting the locations in which a suit can be brought, and could render foreign corporations out of reach of the American justice system.

"Today, we will take the opportunity to address the Republican culture of cronyism. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Barrow, will be offering a motion to recommit to make sure that politically connected cronies and no-bid contractors that defraud and cheat the government in providing goods and service after a natural disaster will never again be able to use these special breaks. They should never be used by government contractors that specifically intend to profit excessively from the disaster.

"Mr. Chairman, I really want to congratulate the gentleman from Wisconsin, Congressman Kind, and the gentleman from California, Congressman Schiff, for putting together an excellent substitute to get rid of loopholes in the Republican bill that favors big corporate interests and foreign corporations, and the substitute also protects civil rights claims.

"We all agree that if there are frivolous lawsuits, those who bring them should pay a price. We will have 'three strikes you are out' for doing that, which is a very important provision in the substitute. The substitute seeks to stop the madness that exists on the floor of this House when it is used as a venue to promote the special interests in our country.

"We must stand up for the American people, not for the politically connected cronies who are getting a no-bid contract. Let us take a stand to end this culture of cronyism and corruption. Let us get back to the real issues that are affecting the American people.

"We must vote for this substitute and send this bill back to ensure that no one who defrauds the American people during natural disasters is ever permitted to take undue advantage of our legal system."


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