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 PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeTexas New Members 2019 Cook shifts two House GOP seats closer to Dem column Five races to watch in the Texas runoffs MORE and Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertThe Memo: Trump veers between hard-liner, dealmaker on shutdown Gohmert to 'Fox & Friends': Extend shutdown for wall 'until hell freezes over' DHS secretary: Mary and Joseph would have been eligible for asylum 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 GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteHouse GOP probe into FBI, DOJ comes to an end Murkowski to reintroduce bill to help abused Native American women FBI hits GOP chairman over push to clear sensitive transcripts by Christmas Eve 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 Davis RyanHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism Anti-Defamation League calls on House leaders to censure Steve King over white supremacy comments MORE’s (R-Wis.) call to each committee to identify spending cut during this year’s budget process.