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 PoeFor the sake of police, don’t back the Back the Blue Act Will McConnell and Ryan put party over country in defense of Trump? GOP bill would create mandatory minimums for crimes against police MORE and Louie GohmertLouie GohmertBudget process drags as GOP struggles for consensus GOP rep: DOJ conspiracy targeting Trump Republicans want to know why Comey didn’t write memo about Lynch 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 GoodlatteWarning: Lawsuit ads may be harmful to the health of Americans Black Dem accuses Steve King of 'white privilege' in heated exchange Act now on No Regulation Without Representation 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 RyanRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting Paul Ryan: ‘Beautiful day’ to catch up with Bono MORE’s (R-Wis.) call to each committee to identify spending cut during this year’s budget process.