GOP panel delays tort reform bill after conservative backlash

GOP panel delays tort reform bill after conservative backlash

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday abruptly postponed a markup on a medical tort reform bill after outbursts of criticism from several of the panel's conservatives.

In a rare display of discord on a GOP-led medical malpractice bill, Texas GOP Reps. Ted PoeTed PoeLawmakers press DOJ to help victims of Ponzi scheme House calls for release of political prisoners in Iran Time for the Trump administration to pursue regime change in Iran MORE and Louie GohmertLouie GohmertLawmakers press DOJ to help victims of Ponzi scheme House approves spending bill with funds for Trump's border wall House avoids floor fight over transgender people in military MORE opposed a bill from fellow Republicans because they said it would violate states' rights.  

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“I believe this issue should be left up entirely in the state courts, in the states,” Poe said of the medical malpractice bill, which sets a $250,000 cap on compensation for non-economic damages to a patient.

“This committee should not, in my opinion, pass legislation that harms state courts and decisions made in state courts because the people in those states don’t want limits on liability,” Poe said. His position was then echoed by Gohmert, who also argued against federal tort reform.

In another surprise, Democrats on the committee, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Wis.) and Jarred Nadler (D-.N.Y.), then praised the positions of the two Texas Republicans.

The committee has yet to reschedule the markup. A spokesperson declined to comment on whether Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteCongressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy How Trump's legal immigration cuts could be a blessing to Dreamers Judiciary Committee Republicans want a second special counsel: report MORE had been aware of conservative opposition to the bill before holding the markup.

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. John Conyers (D-N.Y.), called it a “strong disrespect of federalism.” And just before the markup, the committee received a letter protesting the bill from 29 groups, including the Center for Justice & Democracy and Consumer Watchdog.

The bill cuts spending by about $40 billion over 10 years. It was drafted as the committee’s response to Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response MORE’s (R-Wis.) call to each committee to identify spending cut during this year’s budget process.