U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have sent a letter to President Obama urging a much broader recall of Takata airbags. They are asking POTUS “to recall every vehicle with airbags using ammonium nitrate as their propellant, and to use ‘every tool at his disposal’ to accelerate the repair of all vehicles with potentially-lethal Takata airbags.” This follows yet another airbag death in December.
Now this is kinda bad. The U.S. House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on the Flint water crisis today, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) won’t be testifying, “an omission that some are calling inexcusable” because the whole thing was his fault. The Ranking Member of the key subcommittee, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), put out a statement saying,
Gov. Rick Snyder was at the top of my list of witnesses due to the central role that he has played in this manmade crisis; from the decision to shift from Flint’s original water source for cost-savings to the appalling delay in response to months of complaints by lead-poisoned residents and their children… I am deeply disappointed at the Majority’s lack of commitment to a thorough and meaningful hearing. A sincere search for truth and justice requires a full review by the entire Committee of the decisions and policies of all those involved."
Now the ugly. The House Judiciary Committee is marking up a bill today that deals with a real “in the weeds” concept called diversity jurisdiction. But it would have a truly disturbing impact. According to over 20 national and state organizations, this bill would “upend long established law in the area of federal court jurisdiction, place unreasonable burdens on the federal judiciary, and make it more difficult for Americans to enforce their rights in state courts.
And more ugly. Over on the Senate side, the Judiciary Committee is trying to justify a terrible asbestos bill that, as we’ve noted, would allow any defendant in any asbestos lawsuit the right to demand any information about any asbestos victim from any asbestos trust at any time for any reason whether or not this information is relevant in a lawsuit. And it would do so while invading the privacy of people dying from asbestos disease, forcing information about them and their families on a public website making them vulnerable to crooks and identity thieves.
Why this hearing? Well, maybe proponents are trying to jump start an bill that arrived at the Senate pretty much DOA, following a relatively disappointing (for them not us) House vote, a statement from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promising he would “try to block the bill” calling it an “offensive invasion of the privacy” and a veto threat from the White House.
Just your typical congressional hump day.