The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 14, 2008

Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto on Partisan House Bill

Today, the House of Representatives took a significant step backward in defending our country against terrorism and passed a partisan bill that will please class-action trial lawyers at the expense of our national security. Their bill would make it easier for class-action trial lawyers to sue companies whose only "offense" is that they are alleged to have assisted in efforts to protect the country after the attacks of September 11. These companies already face multibillion-dollar lawsuits, but even the status quo -- which our intelligence professionals have said is undermining our ability to get cooperation from the private sector -- is better than the alternative proposed in the House bill, which would preserve these lawsuits and give trial lawyers more weapons to attack companies for doing their patriotic service. The good news is that the House bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate and, in any event, would be vetoed by the President if it ever got to his desk.

The House bill is not a serious effort to move the legislative process forward, nor is it a serious effort to protect our national security. It is a partisan bill designed to give the House Democratic leadership cover for their failure to act responsibly and vote on the bipartisan Senate bill. The President trusts that Senate leaders, who have acted in a far more bipartisan and responsible way than their colleagues in the House, will see the House bill for the political ploy that it is, reject it, and send back to the House the strong bill the Senate has already passed.

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