On March 9, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 985, or, the so-called Fairness In Class Action Litigation Act. The text of the bill was written by the US Chamber of Commerce, an organization controlled by a handful of large corporations, who would like nothing more than to insulate themselves from liability to millions of Americans hurt by their practices.
This legislation would make it virtually impossible to bring any class action lawsuit, effectively closing the courthouse doors to all in need. The final vote on March 9 in the House represented a very narrow victory (220 – 201), setting the stage for a real battle in the United States Senate where big business will most certainly try to get 60 votes to jam this bill through.
On the bright side, the vote on March 9 was much closer than a vote for a similar bill to the Fairness In Class Action which thankfully died in the last congress when it became transparent what these big corporations were actually trying to do. Fourteen Republicans opposed the bill this time around, along with not having a single Democrat voting in favor of it. This is due to the new era of public education campaigns highlighting the real dangers of this bill that was effectively disseminated to our legislators, who are understandably hit by so many bills from every direction by so many powerful special interests.
The US Chamber functions like a consulting firm hired out by big corporations, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and various electoral issues that protect big business. While it claims to represent millions of businesses, in reality, its funded by only a handful of large multinational corporations. The Chamber is consistently on the wrong side of history, lobbying against engagement in WWII, against the Civil Rights Act, against the Americans with Disabilities Act and other matters that hurt the special interests of those that control it.