One thing you may know about ThePopTort: if there’s a civil justice angle to a national development, we will find it. That leads us to Tuesday, when a couple fascinating things happened in the U.S House and Senate.
The particular focus of this report is the extreme disconnect between the Chamber’s leaders and lobbyists, and the Chamber’s own board of directors. Among the findings: “The Chamber’s positions and actions on tobacco and climate change are at odds with those of its Board members” and “Not a single Board member explicitly supported the Chamber’s lobbying efforts."
Reports the New York Times, “The report highlights that even though the board is described as ‘the principal governing and policy-making body of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,’ the members are often left in the dark.”
You may wondering what all this has to do with the civil justice system. We’ll get there.
The other Tuesday event involved House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders, who “unveiled” their new “plan to grow our economy by tackling excessive regulations, developing American energy, and promoting financial independence for people who work hard and do the right thing.” So again, you are probably wondering why ThePopTort is covering this.
Well, at the very bottom of their list of plan ideas is this one: “A crack down on lawsuit abuse. Keep trial lawyers in check, and improve protections for consumers and small businesses.” Ah, there we go. But good luck figuring out what they actually wanna do. I finally found it here but when I listened live to their press conference, not a single speaker mentioned the issue of “lawsuits” or any of their "lawsuit ideas."
Now, some think the reason might be that a certain presidential candidate has made the issue of “lawsuits” a somewhat toxic talking point for our nation's leaders. However, I choose to believe the real reason is that they know that consumers and small businesses couldn't care less about this issue.
For years, when surveyed, small businesses have ranked this topic at the bottom of their concerns. In other words, this is an entirely staff-driven issue, and by that I mean driven by the lobbyists at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Four bills were listed. All would wipe out the rights of consumer and small businesses to bring cases when they’ve been harmed. One was announced as a top Chamber priority at the start of the new Congress.
So to (finally) get to my point: when it comes to U.S. Chamber lobbyists, congressional leaders who are in their pocket, and the civil justice system, “Out of Step with the American People and Its Members” hardly covers it.