Help Stop the Asbestos Bailout Bill
April 13, 2004 -- We urgently need your help to stop Congress's attempt to strip the rights of those harmed by asbestos. A new asbestos bill, S.B. 2290, has been introduced into the Senate. It's even worse than the last one, S.B. 1125, and does even less for asbestos victims. Sen. Frist (R-TN) has indicated there will be a vote on the new bill during the week of April 19th.
Less Compensation for Asbestos Victims
Labeled the Frist-Hatch Asbestos Bailout Bill by many, S.B. 2290 provides less funding than S.B.1125--between $30 to $40 billion less! This bill would create an asbestos trust fund without enough money for everyone who is sick now or who will become sick from asbestos in the future. Many asbestos victims would receive nothing! Almost anyone who does receive compensation would get significantly less than what is available through the court system.
Long Waits for Those Suffering from Asbestos Diseases
Asbestos victims could expect long waits. 5 years? 10 years? Yes, it could take that long for compensation to be paid to those who "qualify," including people with terminal cancer, mesothelioma, and other asbestos diseases. ALL pending settlements, verdicts on appeal, and bankruptcy awards would be wiped out. Anyone waiting for an asbestos settlement would never be paid. This sounds unbelievable, but it's true.
A Windfall for the Asbestos Industry
The trust fund scheme is a financial windfall for companies like Halliburton (Vice President Cheney's former company), which would walk away from a $4.2 billion pending settlement and pay only $25 million a year instead--a "profit" of $3.6 billion. Honeywell would walk away from a $2 billion pending settlement and pay only $25 million a year instead--a windfall of $1.4 billion. The insurance companies and the major corporations score a big win, and the asbestos victims who have already had their lives destroyed are the big losers.
S.B. 2290 was written by the industry and its insurers, for the industry and its insurers, and the amount of money assigned to the asbestos trust fund is the amount the asbestos companies and the insurers want to pay, not the amount needed to compensate victims for their injuries. It would take away the rights of injured people. It's not fair! Nevertheless, the Frist-Hatch Asbestos Bailout Bill could become law. A massive industry advertising and lobbying campaign for the bill is underway.
Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on S.B. 2290
The only way to fight this attack on our rights is for you to call your Senators. Tell them to vote against the Frist-Hatch Asbestos Bailout Bill, and encourage your family, neighbors and friends to do the same. It's time for a grass roots movement by everyone ever harmed by asbestos, and everyone who opposes corporate bailouts at the expense of innocent victims, to let their Senators know they are fed up with catering to corporations and special interests. Call Congress at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators or go to People Over Profits and send a message to your Senators.