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McCain Amendment May Threaten Class-Action Reform Bill

Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Wednesday, June 30, 2004

McCain Amendment May Threaten Class-Action Reform Bill

(CNSNews.com) - A group that lobbies on behalf of small businesses says it is "deeply concerned" about a greenhouse gas amendment that may torpedo a larger Senate bill dealing with class-action lawsuit reform.

The Senate is expected to debate class-action reform bill when it reconvenes on July 6.

But if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) attaches his Climate Stewardship Act to the class-action reform bill, the entire thing may sink, according to United for Jobs, which describes itself as a project of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Survival Committee, and USA Next, a grassroots organization of the United Seniors Association.

The Climate Stewardship Act - which the Senate defeated 55-43 last October - would impose caps on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Climate Stewardship Act is not only poisonous economic policy, but now John McCain has made it the 'poison pill' of badly-needed class action reform legislation," said Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business Survival Committee.

The class action reform bill passed the House last June and it has the support of the Bush administration. But if the McCain-Lieberman amendment is attached to the bill, the House would probably kill the entire thing when it goes to a conference committee, United for Jobs said.

"Senators McCain and Lieberman will be hurting us twice with their political maneuver," Kerrigan said.

"Their Climate Stewardship Act will cause the loss of 600,000 jobs and increase electricity costs by 42 percent. Then, it threatens badly needed class-action reform by insisting it be attached to what is generally viewed as popular and must-pass legislation," she added.

In a June 16, 2004 letter, the SBSC strongly urged U.S. Senators to vote against the Climate Stewardship Act. The SBSC points to a study showing that caps on greenhouse gases would lead to lost jobs, lower economic output, and higher energy costs.

"As the U.S. Senate continues to debate policy prescriptions that would help keep good paying jobs and industries from moving offshore, it may consider halting the consideration of bad legislation that would only exacerbate job loss and job flight," the letter to senators said.

"Even practical-minded global warming experts view Kyoto-like measures as being counterproductive and wasteful."

A host of environmental groups believe that climate change is directly attributable to greenhouse gas emissions, and they dispute studies showing that economic harm would result from greenhouse gas regulation.