Friable Thoughts

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Counting Heads on the Asbestos Trust Fund

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. I’m sure a lot of you were taken by surprise by the quick vote on the asbestos bill. I was too. I figured they couldn’t go through all those amendments in such short time. I forgot that most of those amendments probably came from senators who would’ve opposed the bill anyway so Specter and Leahy focused on the amendments from senators on the committee that they ended up getting and told Senator Durbin to jump in a lake and Senator Kennedy to go have another drink...and then jump in a lake. I am surprised that Senator Kohl went along with the bill.

However, much of this resembles what happened last year though whether the Democrats can muster a filibuster this time remains an open question. They have 44 senators and three (Leahy, Kohl and our very own Dianne Feinstein) already appear to support the bill. If they have independent Jim Jeffords with them, then they can afford to lose only one more vote. Wheel and deal for Libby residents and perhaps you can get Senator Baucus of Montana? Point out to the two Michigan senators that GM, Ford and the UAW support the bill and perhaps Stabenow or Levin may change their minds from last year.

Not to be a complete downer, but there are Republicans that have a problem with the bill. I doubt they would filibuster the bill given all the frustration that they have had with the Dems use of the procedure. However, if Specter can’t placate them, who knows how many of them could cross the aisle and bring down the bill. And, the House looks like it may not follow the Senate’s lead because the only bill there so far is a medical criteria bill.

But, all this is speculation. Someone analogized all this to steering a ship in a minefield during a hurricane. And, they would be right. Much can happen this summer. It should be an exciting ride.

Senate panel OKs asbestos trust fund bill


  • Well, scuttlebutt I hear is that it's pretty unlikely a bill will get passed this year. The House apparently is insisting on a "criteria" threshhold, which this bill apparently doesn't have. Also, I hear the only big insurer happy with the bill in its present form is CNA.

    Stranger things have happened, of course - but with Rehnquist expected to step down in the next few weeks, I suspect the asbestos bill is going to be "backburnered" for quite a while.

    By Blogger Michael, at 8:41 PM  

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