Groups urge cyber caucus to oppose asbestos trust bill

Groups urge cyber caucus to oppose asbestos trust bill
© Greg Nash

Public interest groups are appealing to the House Cybersecurity Caucus for help in fighting a Republican-backed bill they say will further harm people who have been poisoned by asbestos.

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund and five other interest groups, including Public Citizen and the Center for Justice & Democracy, wrote a letter to caucus co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) asking the caucus to oppose the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015.

The bill, which was approved by the Judiciary Committee in May and has been introduced in the Senate, would require asbestos trusts, which were set up to compensate workers and family members injured by a company’s manufacturing of asbestos, to file quarterly reports on their public bankruptcy dockets that include information on demands for payments and the basis for payments made.

Supporters, such as Rep. Blake FarentholdBlake FarentholdFederal court finds Texas maps discriminate against minorities Female protesters hold mock duel against GOP lawmaker who suggested one GOP lawmaker on Murkowski: 'Snatch a knot in their ass' MORE (R-Texas), who introduced the bill, claim the legislation is needed to protect these finite trusts from paying out money for fraudulent or inflated claims.

But the EWG Action Fund said the bill will force victims to disclose sensitive personal information on the Internet — full names, birth years, work histories, medical conditions and a portion of their social security numbers — when seeking claims, putting their personal security at risk.

“If the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus is to maintain its credibility as a bipartisan group whose mission is to protect all Americans from the growing threats of identity theft and cyber attack, it must oppose any legislation that would put any American at increased risk,” their letter said.