House Passes Class-Action Bill; Next Stop Is Bushs Desk
The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Feb. 17 that would take large multistate class-action lawsuits out of state courts and move them into federal courts. The 279-149 vote sends the first Republican priority legislation of this Congress to President Bush for his signature in relatively short order. The GOP-controlled Senate passed the bill a week ago by a 72-26 vote.
Republicans are expected to use the overwhelming vote and prompt passagethe bill was not expected to reach the Presidents desk before Easteras a springboard for passage of legislation reforming the asbestos and medical malpractice litigation systems, as one Democrat noted during debate on the House floor.
Efforts also are under way to pass a bankruptcy bill sought by large credit card banks, but it is unclear what will happen to that legislation.
Jack Dolan, a spokesman for the American Council of Life Insurers, said, “It looks like we finally crossed the goal line. It appears as if we will finally get sensible reform.”