Conservative backlash against tort reform bill surprised GOP sponsor

Conservative backlash against tort reform bill surprised GOP sponsor
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The Republican author of a popular medical malpractice bill that was derailed in committee on Tuesday said conservative opposition caught him unaware.

Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) said he was surprised when two fellow Republicans — Texas Reps. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSenate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 Cook shifts two House GOP seats closer to Dem column MORE and Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertLive coverage: Witnesses say Trump committed impeachable offenses Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE — voiced opposition during the House Judiciary Committee markup, forcing the panel to temporarily abandon the bill.   


“To be quite honest with you, no. I hate to admit that, but I didn’t know,” Franks told The Hill on Wednesday.

The tort reform bill is a high priority for the Judiciary Committee and for GOP leadership. The bill is part of a budget savings package that each House committee was asked to create by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE (R-Wis.). It is estimated to save about $40 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The budget savings bills are an effort to offset the spending increases in last fall’s budget deal between Congress and the White House and help the House GOP unite around a budget blueprint for 2017.

The Judiciary Committee has not yet scheduled another markup. Franks suggested he would be adding language to “clarify” the issue of states rights that Poe and Gohmert had cited in their opposition.

“I think that there was consensus there that we could do something to make sure there was a clear federal nexus,” Franks said.

A spokesman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Tenn.) declined to say whether he was aware of the concerns within his party before the markup.

During the markup, Goodlatte repeatedly said the bill’s language was the same as a bill that had already passed the committee.

“The bill before us today is identical to what was reported out of this committee two Congresses ago,” Goodlatte said.

Franks, too, underscored that both Poe and Gohmert had supported similar language before.

“They have obviously had some ambivalence in their own lives, because they voted for it before,” Franks said Wednesday.