Below is a timeline of important events in the outlawing of asbestos from the book “Dust Up”.

December 2004

Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Specter announces that he will introduce major asbestos litigation reform in the first week of the 109th Congress.


109th Congress


January 2005

newly appointed Senate Committee chair Specter begins extensive hearing and negotiation on the creation of an asbestos injury compensation trust fund.


April 2005

Representative Chris Cannon (R-UT) introduces HR 1957, medical criteria bill that would leave asbestos claims in the courts but require claims to meet medical standards.


may 2005 After months of hearing and negotiations, the Senate Judiciary Committee approves the latest version of the FAIR Act (S 852), Which proposes replacing asbestos litigation with a $140 billion trust fund, by a 13-5 vote.


Three Democrats-senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Feinstein, and Herb Kohl (D-WI), vote to approve S 852.

At least three conservative senators who voted S 852 out of the committee- Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ)- signal that significant changes would have to be made for them to vote for S 852 on the floor.


August 2005


CBO releases report on S 852, finding that the fund would collect a maximum of $140 billion and would receive claims of $120 billion to $150 billion.


September 2005


Bates White, a private consulting firm, releases an analysis that suggests that the proposed trust fund would quickly be overwhelmed by claims.

Senator Specter conducts further hearing in the estimated costs of $ 852 receiving contradictory testimony.


November 2005


Government Accountability Office release a critical report on federal trust funds.

Senator Specter hold additional hearing on future asbestos claims.


february 2006

Senate floor action begins on S 852.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) brings a budgetary point of order against S 852 based on a prohibition against legislation that would authorize more than $5 billion in spending during any ten-year period starting in 2016

. motion to waive the point of order- which requires  60 votes – failed in 58-41 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Frist changes his vote so that he can raise a motion to reconsider and promises to bring S 852 to the floor if its proponents can muster the missing vote.


May 2006

Senators Specter and LEahy introduce a new bill, S 3274, which makes slight changes to S 852.


November 2006

Republicans lose their majorities in both chambers of Congress- Senate: 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, 1 Independent (counting Senator Joseph Lieberman [CN], an independent Democrat, as part of the majority); house: 233 Democrats 202 Republicans.


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