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WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the FACT Act, which would require more transparency from asbestos trusts, after sometimes heated debate earlier in the day.
The House voted 221-199 to pass HR 982, also known as the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act. The vote closely followed party lines, with only five Democrats voting in the majority.
The measure would require asbestos trusts, which were established to pay off future claims against asbestos companies, to release quarterly reports about who seeks compensation. Republicans say the measure would cut fraudulent claims and reduce the number of people trying to double dip and get compensation from active companies as well as these trusts.
Democrats, on the other hand, said there is no evidence of such fraud. They also claim victims’ personal and medical information would be more public.
During Wednesday afternoon’s debate, resolution sponsor Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said fraud cuts the amount of money available for legitimate asbestos claims.
“This is for the victims,” he said. “It’s two pages of text. There is no requirement of any action by the (asbestos) victims. The trusts are the only ones required to do something. This doesn’t involve broad release of information.
“It just requires them to tell who they’re paying money to and what they’re paying, so there is no double dipping....