Although asbestos legislation has stalled in the Senate, the bill’s advocates are not yet counting it dead. The measure would set up a $140-billion trust fund to compensate victims of asbestos exposure. On Feb. 14 supporters fell two votes short of the 60 needed to override a budget point of order.
But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), claims he has the two votes —those of Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who didn’t vote Feb. 14 because his wife was sick, and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who originally voted with Specter but switched so he could bring up the bill in the future “We have just begun the fight,” Specter says.
Frist said he would schedule a floor vote “at the earliest possible opportunity” if its backers can muster 60 votes.