Optimism about a federal solution to asbestos litigation fades

Desprte months of negotiations involving labor, trial lawyers, insurers, businesses and senators, a federal solution to costly asbestos litigation clogging the nation’s c o w still seems elusive.  There was optimism last year among the vanous parties to this debate that consensus could be found on how to deal with the massive number of asbestos claims that have led to business bankruptcies, delayed compensation for victims and backlogged courts.  But that optinusm has been tempered by an election-year political environment in the Senatethat, some say, is not conducive to any legislation being approved, and, others say, by feelings that some parties are not negohating in good faith.

Last week, Senate Republican leaders brought to the floor Bill S. 2290, the product of negotiations over the last six months, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
But the leaders failed to gather the 60 votes needed to move to a debate on the bill’s merits.  The cloture motion went down, 5047.

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