What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Equal Access to Justice : This vote was on a Republican petition to end Democratic debate blocking consideration by the full Senate of legislation (S. 2290) designed to make it harder for victims of asbestos poisoning who are lacking any overt symptoms, to sue for damages. (2004 senate Roll Call 69)
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This vote was on a Republican petition to end Democratic debate blocking consideration by the full Senate of legislation (S. 2290) designed to make it harder for victims of asbestos poisoning who are lacking any overt symptoms, to sue for damages.
senate Roll Call 69     Apr 22, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

Progressives succeeded in throwing up a procedural roadblock to prevent consideration by the full Senate of legislation (S. 2290) designed to make it harder for victims of asbestos poisoning who are lacking any overt symptoms, to sue for damages. The Senate failed to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed to the consideration of the measure, mustering just 50 of the 60 needed votes to override the filibuster. Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who leads the legislative negotiations for Republicans, expressed exasperation that bill opponents would not even let the measure be considered, let along voted upon. "We are talking about a motion to proceed. How often in the Senate have we had a filibuster against a motion to proceed to a bill, when you can filibuster the bill, too? So you would have two filibusters on this bill, assuming we were to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed. It shows the lengths to which some will go in an election year to play partisan politics." Seeking to break through what they viewed as stalled bipartisan negotiations on the legislation, conservatives filed the cloture motion to begin consideration of a measure crafted unilaterally by Republicans and the affected corporations. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said the petition was needed to help break the logjam. "The cloture vote will give everyone an opportunity to put their views on the record as we go forward and continue to work on this bill," he said. Although some type of asbestos litigation reform legislation is supported by many Republicans and a handful of Democrats, progressives cried foul when the Republican leadership sought, as progressives characterized it, to "jam" through this new legislation without waiting for the bipartisan negotiations to conclude and for ignoring a competing proposal on the Democratic side, which Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, the Democrat spearheading the bill negotiations for his side, said "is different from what the majority has proposed, but not that different." He added, "Legislating on a matter like this is hard work. In my view, it cannot be done thoughtfully or carefully by engaging in open-ended floor debate with amendments flying around that no one really knows the implications of, some of which are passed 51 to 49, others defeated 51 to 49." progressives urged the Republican leadership to withdraw the cloture petition, saying it would only foster ill-will. "Give us the chance," Dodd urged. "...[W]e ought not to jump to that when there still is an opportunity to resolve some of these outstanding questions."

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