What: All Issues : Health Care : H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Preserve States' Rights to Litigate on Behalf of Consumers in Cases Involving Alleged Deception by Corporations on Issues of Obesity. (2004 house Roll Call 48)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Preserve States' Rights to Litigate on Behalf of Consumers in Cases Involving Alleged Deception by Corporations on Issues of Obesity.
house Roll Call 48     Mar 10, 2004
Member's Vote
(progressive
or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

Protecting consumers from delinquent corporations has been a hallmark of progressive legislation since the industrial revolution. In recent years, progressive lawmakers have attempted to hold tobacco companies, firearms manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms, and, in this present case, fast food chains liable for alleged harms to consumers. Conservative lawmakers, conversely, have advanced legal reforms-so-called tort reforms-which aim to protect corporations from paying large sums to injured consumers. At issue on this vote is legislation to protect fast food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King from lawsuits that allege that their products adversely affect the health of consumers by making them obese. The bill also prevents states' Attorneys General from enforcing consumer protection laws in cases involving alleged deception by corporations on weight-related issues. During debate on the measure, Congressman Scott (D-VA) proposed an amendment which would have maintained the rights of states' Attorneys General to enforce state consumer protection laws in cases involving mislabeling or other deceptive practices by corporations. Progressives supported Scott's amendment because, in their view, states' Attorneys General should retain the ability to hold corporations accountable for unfair or deceptive practices which harm consumers in their state. Conservatives opposed the amendment. In their view, uniform legal protections for fast food chains at both the state and federal levels were needed both to maintain legal uniformity in weight-related cases across states and to prevent a flood of frivolous lawsuits in state courts. Those lawsuits, Conservatives argued, could force companies to incur millions of dollars in legal expenses to the detriment of the estimated 12 million workers in the fast food industry. On a vote of 177-241, Scott's amendment was struck down and the underlying legislation was not amended to preserve the rights of states' Attorneys General to litigate on behalf of consumers in weight-related lawsuits involving alleged deception by corporations.

N Y L
Issue Areas:
Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss