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Democrats Question Asbestos Fund

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The Senate began debating legislation yesterday which would end asbestos lawsuits and award victims $25,000 to $1.1 million, depending on how sick the toxic substance has made them. Fortunately Senate Democrats such as Kent Conrad from North Dakota are questioning the $140 billion fund

and claiming it would run out of money after approximately 10 years and be about $150 billion short of enough money to last the 50 year life of the trust.

According to Bloomberg.com:

“This trust fund will go bust in the second 10-year period,” Conrad told reporters in Washington. “The federal government would be turned to for even more payments,” and “victims would get much less than promised.”

Conrad released a study by the Democratic staff of the Budget Committee that predicted the fund would be forced to borrow $40 billion in the first 20 years of operation to make up the shortfall, the report said.

Peter Lattman at the WSJ Law Blog has more about the asbestos hearings and the White House weighing in with (of course) a little jab at trial lawyers.