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May 09, 2011

Texas GOP Rams Koch-Backed ‘Loser Pays’ Bill Through House, Making It Much Harder To Sue Corporations

How incredibly evil is this? ThinkProgress -- Texas GOP Rams Koch-Backed ‘Loser Pays’ Bill Through House, Making It Harder To Sue Corporations
House Bill 274 — dubbed the “Loser Pays” bill — passed the state House Saturday with no amendments and no debate after Gov. Rick Perry (R) deemed it “emergency legislation,” rushing it to the top of the legislative agenda. Under the bill, those who sue corporations could be held responsible for the defendants’ legal fees if they lose the case — and in some instances, even if they win. If the court sides with the plaintiff, but awards a smaller amount than the defendant offered in a potential settlement, the plaintiff could be forced to pay the defendant’s court costs, even if those costs exceed the amount awarded to the plaintiff. For this reason, state Rep. Craig Eiland (D) wanted to rename the bill the “loser-pays-but-sometimes-the-winner pays-too” bill. The law could intimidate potential plaintiffs into avoiding lawsuits against corporations, because they could be on the hook for massive legal fees if the court ultimately doesn’t side with them. Not surprisingly, among the bill’s biggest proponent are large corporations, including Koch Industries, Chevron, and G.E., which all lobbied on its behalf. Also backing the bill is the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit front group funded largely by corporations, including Koch Industries and three other Koch-owned companies: Georgia Pacific, Invista, and Flint Hills Resources. These companies stand to gain tremendously from the legislation, as it could both reduce their legal fees in specific cases and have a chilling effect on lawsuits more generally. And Koch’s business practices have made them a frequent target of expensive lawsuits. In Texas, for example, Koch’s refinery in Corpus Cristi has a history of leaking Benzene, a hazardous chemical linked to cancer, and was indicted in 2000 on 97 counts for violating EPA rules.

Speaker Boehner threatens to destroy America unless we give him everything he wants

Raising the debt limit has been routine and bipartisan, until the House Republicans realized they could use it to bully the rest of teh government into doing what they want. Now, of course, it's a thing they deeply oppose. Unlike say all the times they raised it when Bush was President. And this is incredibly, dangerously stupid. Words fail me, is how stupid this is. Not raising the limit would effectively cripple the American economy in no time at all. It would hurt everyone. This is stupid and Boehner is stupid for doing this. Now what about jobs? Boehner Lays Down Aggressive Marker In Debt Limit Brinksmanship | TPMDC
In a Monday speech before top Wall Street executives at the Economic Club of New York, House Speaker John Boehner will say Congress should not increase the national debt limit at all unless it simultaneously cuts federal spending by a dollar figure that's larger than the amount of new borrowing authority it gives the government. "Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase," Boehner will say. "And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given." Boehner and other top Republicans have said for weeks that they won't raise the debt limit without huge concomitant spending cuts. But his speech tonight will lay down a new marker. And it suggests Congress will only give the Obama administration as much new borrowing authority as it is willing to accept in spending cuts. If the White House doesn't call Boehner's bluff, that means Democrats will have to play ball with Republicans on entitlement cuts if they're to get anywhere near the $2 trillion debt limit increase they're seeking. "That includes honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare, because we all know, with millions of Baby Boomers beginning to retire, the status quo is unsustainable," Boehner will say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks released in advance.