1984 Scorecard Vote
As noted in vote #2, it is often difficult if not impossible for victims of toxic wastes to recover damages from those responsible. Often several companies share the same dump, or one company pays another to dispose of its wastes. Although victims can sue in state courts, many states have legal rules making it very hard to prove who is legally liable for damages. Moreover, some states require that any suit for damages be brought within three years of the injury, although medical problems associated with toxic chemicals often take many years to become serious.
The House Superfund Extension bill therefore created a new right for toxic waste victims to sue in federal court, where the rules are more sympathetic to the victim. This vote is on the Sawyer amendment to remove that new provision. Sawyer amendment adopted 208-200; August 9, 1984. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Sawyer amendment to Superfund Extension bill, H.R. 5640.) The Reagan Administration supported the amendment. The bill passed the House but died in the Senate.