Document Sample
					                                       October 19, 2005                                   CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                                 H8925
                                          Mr. President, thank you, sir. We                    eral radio talk show host Ed Schultz’s                 XVIII, the Chair declares the House in
                                       need you, with the stroke of a pen,                     show was set to debut.                                 the Committee of the Whole House on
                                       please reinforce the Border Patrol.                       However, 15 minutes before our sol-                  the State of the Union for the consider-
                                       Help our local law enforcement au-                      diers could finally hear a differing                   ation of the bill, H.R. 554.
                                       thorities defend the peace and pros-                    opinion, the Pentagon abruptly can-                                       b 1036
                                       perity of the United States or our way                  celled the show. Ed Schultz’s producer
                                       of life may, indeed, change.                            received a call from a Pentagon official                       IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

                                          Thank you, Mr. President. The Amer-                  informing him that the show would not                    Accordingly, the House resolved
                                       ican people are way beyond the tipping                  be debuting on AFN.                                    itself into the Committee of the Whole
                                       point in frustration and outrage at the                   Why exactly is the Pentagon keeping                  House on the State of the Union for the
                                       unprotected borders and this flood of                   our troops from hearing differing opin-                consideration of the bill (H.R. 554) to
                                       illegal immigration, and we are very                    ions? Could it be that the Pentagon is                 prevent legislative and regulatory
                                       grateful to you, sir, for stepping up to                a little embarrassed by the staging of a               functions from being usurped by civil
                                       protect our borders.                                    Presidential teleconference last week?                 liability actions brought or continued
                                                                                               We see the same staffer that informed                  against food manufacturers, market-
                                                                                               Schultz of his cancellation was the                    ers, distributors, advertisers, sellers,
                                       ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER                             same woman seen coaching American                      and trade associations for claims of in-
                                                   PRO TEMPORE                                 troops last week in what was supposed                  jury relating to a person’s weight gain,
                                         The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs.                         to be an unscripted conversation with                  obesity, or any health condition associ-
                                       MILLER of Michigan). Members are ad-                    our troops in Iraq. Schultz was critical               ated with weight gain or obesity, with
                                       vised to address their comments to the                  of that stage show.                                    Mrs. MILLER of Michigan in the chair.
                                       Chair and not to the President.                           President Bush says our troops are                     The Clerk read the title of the bill.
                                                                                               fighting to bring democracy to Iraq. It                  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the
                                                        f                                                                                             rule, the bill is considered read the
                                                                                               would be nice if our own troops could
                                         A SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARDS                            exercise some of that freedom.                         first time.
                                               DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ                                                                                        Under the rule, the gentleman from
                                                                                                                                                      Wisconsin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER) and
                                         (Mr. KINGSTON asked and was given                                                                            the gentleman from North Carolina
                                                                                                   ANTI-TERRORISM INSURANCE
                                       permission to address the House for 1                                                                          (Mr. WATT) each will control 30 min-
                                       minute.)                                                  (Mrs. MALONEY asked and was given
                                         Mr. KINGSTON. Madam Speaker, I                        permission to address the House for 1
                                                                                                                                                        The Chair recognizes the gentleman
                                       want the previous speaker to know                       minute.)
                                                                                                                                                      from Wisconsin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER).
                                       that I think I can get a Members tour                     Mrs. MALONEY. Madam Speaker,
                                                                                                                                                        Mr.     SENSENBRENNER.          Madam
                                       for both of us to the White House if my                 our leaders are telling us on both sides
                                                                                                                                                      Chairman, I yield myself such time as
                                       friend wants to join me sometime. I                     of the aisle that terrorism is here to
                                                                                                                                                      I may consume.
                                       will get back with the gentleman from                   stay. If they believe that, if they know
                                                                                                                                                        Madam Chairman, I rise in support of
                                       Washington on that.                                     that, then why are we not preparing for
                                                                                                                                                      H.R. 554, the Personal Responsibility in
                                         I want to say in Iraq this weekend, it                it?
                                                                                                                                                      Food Consumption Act of 2005.
                                       was a historic and very significant day:                  Anti-terrorism insurance passed this                   The food service industry employs
                                       over 60 percent voter turnout to adopt                  House after 9/11 and put this country                  some 12 million people, making it the
                                       a new constitution; less violence than                  on a stronger economic foundation, and                 Nation’s largest private sector em-
                                       ever before on the election compared to                 it is set to expire this January. Busi-                ployer. This vital sector of our econ-
                                       June; greater participation by every-                   nesses in my district are telling me                   omy has recently come under attack
                                       body, including the Sunni minority.                     that if their policies have expired since              by lawsuits alleging it should pay mon-
                                         It is my hope that the constitution                   September, they cannot find coverage                   etary damages based upon legal theo-
                                       will pass and that in December we will                  anywhere in the United States of                       ries holding it liable for the over-
                                       have an election and the new govern-                    America; they are seeking insurance in                 consumption of its products.
                                       ment will take hold. And under that                     England.                                                 H.R. 554, the Personal Responsibility
                                       new government, their troops, of which                    Part of homeland security, part of                   in Food Consumption Act, would cor-
                                       we have trained 177,000, can start tak-                 being prepared or not is putting our                   rect this disturbing trend. Introduced
                                       ing a bigger role in the war and then                   economic policy in shape. And an im-                   by the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
                                       our troops can step back and draw                       portant part of homeland security is                   KELLER), this legislation would gen-
                                       down.                                                   anti-terrorism insurance. It is impor-                 erally prohibit frivolous obesity- or
                                         Last weekend was very significant. It                 tant to the economic foundation of this                weight gain-related claims against the
                                       is too bad the press is begrudgingly                    country. It is important to combating                  food industry. It would, however, allow
                                       only covering good stuff when it comes                  terrorism. We need to extend it. We                    obesity-related claims to go forward in
                                       to Iraq, but do not let the day go by                   need to do it now. The program expires                 several circumstances, including cases
                                       without realizing its significance. A                   in January.                                            in which a State or Federal law was
                                       great election, great participation, less                                 f                                    broken and as a result a person suf-
                                       violence, a significant step towards de-                                                                       fered harm. Under H.R. 554, cases could
                                       mocracy.                                                          GENERAL LEAVE
                                                                                                                                                      go forward in which a company vio-
                                                        f                                        Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speak-                        lates an expressed contract or war-
                                                                                               er, I ask unanimous consent that all                   ranty.
                                       CANCELLATION           OF      LIBERAL                  Members may have 5 legislative days                      Also, because H.R. 554 applies only to
                                         RADIO SHARE ON AN UNBAL-                              within which to revise and extend their                claims based on weight gain or obesity,
                                         ANCED ARMED FORCES NET-                               remarks and include extraneous mate-                   lawsuits could still proceed if, for ex-
                                         WORK                                                  rial on H.R. 554.                                      ample, someone gets sick from con-
                                         (Ms. WATSON asked and was given                         The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr.                         suming tainted food.
                                       permission to address the House for 1                   CULBERSON). Is there objection to the                    This legislation passed the House of
                                       minute.)                                                request of the gentleman from Wis-                     Representatives during the 108th Con-
                                         Ms. WATSON. Madam Speaker, today                      consin?                                                gress in the form of H.R. 339 with a
                                       our troops abroad have very few                           There was no objection.                              large bipartisan vote of 276 to 139.
                                       choices when they turn on their radios.                                   f                                      According to a recent Gallup Poll,
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                                       If they are looking for political talk on                                                                      ‘‘Nearly nine in 10 Americans oppose
                                       the Armed Forces Network, all they                        PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN                           holding the fast-food industry legally
                                       get is the conservative spin machine                     FOOD CONSUMPTION ACT OF 2005                          responsible for diet-related health
                                       from Rush Limbaugh. That was all sup-                     The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursu-                      problems of people who eat that kind of
                                       posed to change on Monday when lib-                     ant to House Resolution 494 and rule                   food on a regular basis . . . those who

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                                       H8926                                              CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                    October 19, 2005
                                       describe themselves as overweight are                   latures won’t legislate, then the trial                considered by the Congress, which are
                                       no more likely than others to blame                     lawyers will litigate.’’                               drafted to apply to private lawsuits,
                                       the fast-food industry for obesity-re-                    Madam Chairman, the Personal Re-                     and is a vast departure from the origi-
                                       lated health problems or to favor law-                  sponsibility in Food Consumption Act                   nal purpose of this bill and the prob-
                                       suits against the industry.’’                           will help preserve the separation of                   lems it was designed to deal with.
                                         As one judge put it: ‘‘If a person                    powers, support the principle of per-                     Since the predecessor to H.R. 554 was
                                       knows or should know that eating copi-                  sonal responsibility, and help protect                 first introduced last term, 18 State leg-
                                       ous orders of supersized McDonald’s                     the largest private sector employer in                 islatures have enacted so-called cheese-
                                       products is unhealthy and may result                    the United States. I urge all my col-                  burger laws to prohibit certain claims
                                       in weight gain, it is not the place of                  leagues to support this important leg-                 from their courts. While most of those
                                       the law to protect them from their own                  islation.                                              enacted apply retroactively, others,
                                       excesses.’’                                               Madam Chairman, I reserve the bal-                   that is, Kansas, Arizona, Colorado, do
                                         Even the Los Angeles Times has edi-                   ance of my time.                                       not. Some provide for a stay of dis-
                                       torialized against such lawsuits, stat-                   Mr. WATT. Madam Chairman, I yield                    covery; others do not. Some establish
                                       ing: ‘‘If kids are chowing down to ex-                  myself such time as I may consume.                     affirmative defenses; others do not.
                                       cess on junk food, aren’t their parents                   Madam Chairman, I rise in opposi-                    That is our State law taking effect.
                                       responsible for cracking down? And if                   tion to this legislation. And as I said                   In short, in the considered judgment
                                       parents or other grown-ups over-                        the last time we debated it, I do not                  of each of these 18 State legislatures,
                                       indulge, isn’t it their fault, not that of              rise because I am a supporter of frivo-                laws have been enacted that best serve
                                       the purveyors of fast food? . . . Why                   lous lawsuits or lawsuits even that                    their States. The bill completely pre-
                                       boost their food bills just because of                  some of the people have used the legal                 empts those laws and brings to a
                                       legal jousting? People shouldn’t get                    system to pursue. I rise in opposition                 screeching halt the work of 26 other
                                       stuffed, but this line of litigation                    to the bill because I think it is an over-
                                                                                                                                                      States that have been working on
                                       should.’’                                               reaction; and, indeed, I think it is per-
                                                                                                                                                      pending legislation. It also disrupts the
                                         The threat posed to our national                      haps an ultimate attestation to the
                                                                                                                                                      process in some States that have com-
                                       economy is clear. Personal injury at-                   fact that many of my colleagues have
                                                                                                                                                      bined obesity bills with menu labeling
                                       torney and obesity lawsuit litigator                    lost confidence and faith in the legal
                                                                                                                                                      requirements as part of their overall
                                       John Banzhaf said recently, ‘‘You may                   system on the one hand or that, regard-
                                                                                                                                                      health enhancing legislative scheme.
                                       not like it . . . but we’ll find a judge.               less of what the legal system does, if it
                                                                                                                                                         What is the price that we are willing
                                       And then we’ll find a jury’’ that will                  does not yield for them the result that
                                                                                                                                                      to pay to get the result that we are
                                       find restaurants liable for their cus-                  they are seeking, they are willing to
                                                                                                                                                      seeking? Have we lost confidence in our
                                       tomers’ overeating. According to news                   compromise any principle that they
                                                                                                                                                      State and Federal court systems that
                                       reports of a recent legal conference, a                 have professed to stand for to achieve
                                                                                                                                                      have systematically thrown out most
                                       panel of four lawyers argued that the                   the result that they wish to achieve.
                                                                                                 H.R. 554 goes much further than its                  of the lawsuits that have been filed
                                       overweight lawsuit movement ‘‘would                                                                            against the food industry using this
                                                                                               stated purpose of banning the small
                                       need to extend beyond the obvious tar-                                                                         ‘‘fat theory,’’ as it is commonly re-
                                                                                               handful of private suits brought
                                       gets like restaurants, fast-food chains,                against the food industry. It also bans                ferred to? Have we lost confidence in
                                       and food manufacturers to bring about                   suits for harm caused by dietary sup-                  our whole federalist form of govern-
                                       substantial policy changes . . . ’’                     plements and mislabeling, which have                   ment in which tort law has been par-
                                         Dr. Gerald Musante, a clinical psy-                                                                          ticularly the province of the States?
                                                                                               nothing to do with excess food con-
                                       chologist who trained at Duke Univer-                                                                          Have we lost confidence in our State
                                                                                               sumption; and it would prevent State
                                       sity Medical Center, has worked for                                                                            legislatures that are in the middle of
                                                                                               law enforcement officials from bring-
                                       more than 30 years with thousands of                                                                           responding in their particular States to
                                                                                               ing legal claims to enforce their own
                                       obese patients. He is the founder of the                                                                       any problems that may be on the hori-
                                                                                               consumer protection laws.
                                       Structure House, a residential weight                     Simply look at the provisions of the                 zon in this area?
                                       loss facility in Durham, North Caro-                    bill. Section 4(5) would prevent any                      We have instead cast ourselves as the
                                       lina. Dr. Musante said the following at                 legal action related to any ‘‘health                   imperial Congress because the same
                                       a hearing in the other body on this leg-                condition that is associated with a per-               people who came to this Congress, say-
                                       islation: ‘‘Through working with obese                  son’s weight gain or obesity.’’                        ing that they believe in States rights,
                                       patients, I have learned that the worst                                                                        have now shown they do not care about
                                       thing one can do is to blame an outside                                   b 1045                               States rights. What they want is a re-
                                       force to get themselves ‘off the hook,’                   As a result, the bill would prevent                  sult that they can control and they can
                                       to say it’s not their fault and that they               persons who develop heart disease and                  dictate.
                                       are a victim . . . Congress has rightly                 diabetes from dietary supplements                         That is really what this bill is about,
                                       recognized the danger of allowing                       such as Ephedra and Phen-fen from                      and it is unfortunately not only this
                                       Americans to continue blaming others                    being able to obtain redress if they                   bill. There is another bill right behind
                                       for the obesity epidemic. It is impera-                 gained weight. Even worse, the bill                    this one that will be up today or to-
                                       tive that we prevent lawsuits from                      bans these lawsuits in a retroactive                   morrow that does the same thing in
                                       being filed against any industry for an-                way. So it would throw out dozens of                   the gun context.
                                       swering consumer demands.’’                             Ephedra and Phen-fen cases currently                      So I do not think we are going to
                                         Even the chairman of the American                     pending before courts. This is a far cry               hear a lot of people out here talking
                                       Council for Fitness and Nutrition,                      from the concerns that led to this leg-                about this bill today. I do not see many
                                       Susan Finn, has written that ‘‘if you’re                islation originally, some of which I                   people on the floor. It will be like a
                                       obese, you don’t need a lawyer; you                     have the same concerns about.                          tree falling in the forest. We do not
                                       need to see your doctor, a nutritionist,                  H.R. 554 would also prevent State law                know whether it is having any impact
                                       and a physical trainer. Playing the                     enforcement officials from enforcing                   out there or not. We will pass it out of
                                       courtroom blame game won’t make                         their own laws. Under section 4(3), the                here. It will become a political vehicle
                                       anyone thinner or healthier . . . ’’                    bill applies to legal actions brought by               to cozy up to the food industry, but at
                                         Besides threatening to erode values                   any ‘‘person,’’ and the term ‘‘person’’ is             what price? At what price?
                                       of personal responsibility, the lawsuit                 defined to include any ‘‘governmental                     I would just say the people who
                                       campaign against the food industry                      entity.’’ That means States attorneys                  maintain that H.R. 554 is necessary to
                                       threatens the separation of powers. Na-                 general will be prevented from pur-                    make people responsible for their own
                                       tionally coordinated lawsuits seek to                   suing actions for deceptive practices                  choices and to thwart the unwarranted
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                                       accomplish through litigation what has                  and false advertising and other prac-                  imposition of legal costs and fees on
                                       not been achieved by legislation and                    tices that are illegal against the food                the food industry are just not being up-
                                       the democratic process. As one master-                  industry.                                              front with us about this one.
                                       mind behind the lawsuits against the                      Again, this is a vast departure from                    This bill insulates an entire industry
                                       food industry has stated, ‘‘If the legis-               most of the so-called tort reform bills                from liability; and more importantly,

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                                       October 19, 2005                                   CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                               H8927
                                       it undermines our State judicial and                      Mr. WATT. Madam Chairman, I yield                    try their cases and their issues in the
                                       legislative systems that should be and                  5 minutes to the gentleman from Vir-                   legislative branch, rather than being
                                       are in the process of dealing with this                 ginia (Mr. SCOTT).                                     stuck with the law that applies to ev-
                                       to the extent that they have identified                   Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam                         erybody else.
                                       it as a problem.                                        Chairman, I thank the gentleman for                      Mr. Chairman, trying cases in the
                                         In that sense, the bill represents yet                yielding me time.                                      legislative branch is bad policy. We
                                       another arrogant attempt by this Con-                     Madam Chairman, in addition to the                   should honor the rule of law and apply
                                       gress to impose its will on the States,                 violation of principles of federalism                  the law in all cases. There will always
                                       and I urge my colleagues to get a grip                  outlined by my colleague from North                    be special interests, but we should not
                                       and understand what we are about to                     Carolina, this piece of legislation is an-             make special laws for those who can
                                       do here. There are some things that are                 other piece in which we are taking                     get to a Congressman to introduce a
                                       more important, and our judicial sys-                   upon ourselves the right to try a case                 bill on their behalf. Let us honor and
                                       tem is working its way through these                    in the legislative branch instead of re-               respect the rule of law to be applied
                                       cases, is dismissing them where they                    specting the separation of powers by                   equally to all and reject this legisla-
                                       need to be dismissed; and where that is                 allowing cases to be tried in the judi-                tion.
                                       not happening, our State legislatures                   cial branch where they belong.                           Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-
                                       are taking care of this problem. This is                  Instead of respecting separation of                  man, I yield 3 minutes to the gen-
                                       not a Federal issue, nor should it be.                  powers and honoring the rule of law                    tleman from Utah (Mr. CANNON).
                                         I urge opposition to the bill.                        and standing behind the principle that                   Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I thank
                                         Madam Chairman, I reserve the bal-                    laws should be applied equally to all,                 the gentleman from Wisconsin for the
                                       ance of my time.                                        we are once again giving special treat-                time.
                                         Mr.     SENSENBRENNER.         Madam                  ment to special cases.                                   Unfortunately, the food industry has
                                                                                                 The majority in Congress has appar-                  been targeted by a variety of un-
                                       Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gen-
                                                                                               ently already decided the proper out-                  founded legal claims which allege busi-
                                       tleman from Ohio (Mr. CHABOT).
                                                                                               come of these cases and is adjusting                   nesses should pay monetary damages
                                         Mr. CHABOT. Madam Chairman, I                         the law accordingly just for these                     and be subject to equitable remedies
                                       am pleased to be a cosponsor of this                    cases, rather than trusting our laws                   based on novel legal theories of liabil-
                                       legislation that will help curtail frivo-               and our courts to hear evidence from                   ity for the overconsumption of its legal
                                       lous lawsuits. It is reassuring to see                  both sides and decide the cases on their               products.
                                       the Congress is taking measures to                      merits. If these are losing cases, then                  Obesity is a problem in America, but
                                       help rid our court system of lawsuits                   let the judicial process make that deci-               it is not evident that the availability
                                       that are costly and hurt those con-                     sion. Even if they are frivolous cases,                of high-fat food or restaurants are the
                                       sumers and businesses in our country.                   the judicial branch has ways to sanc-                  sole cause. A number of studies have
                                       Twelve million people in this country                   tion people for bringing frivolous cases;              shown that a lack of physical activity,
                                       are employed by businesses in the food                  but once again, special interests are re-              that is, not exercising, has contributed
                                       industry, making it the Nation’s larg-                  ceiving, in these cases, special treat-                to the rise of obesity and not solely
                                       est private sector employer. This is an                 ment.                                                  one’s caloric intake.
                                       industry that has a direct impact on                      Instead of having to go through the                    In the Subcommittee on Commercial
                                       the Nation’s economy, and these fast-                   courts like everybody else, where they                 and Administrative Law, which I
                                       food obesity lawsuits are opposed by                    do not know the outcome of the case                    chaired last Congress, we explored the
                                       nearly nine in 10 Americans.                            until evidence is presented and the law                threat the food industry and its work-
                                         The idea that holding the food indus-                 is applied, these defendants will get to               ers face from frivolous litigation, the
                                       try liable for the excess of some indi-                 try their cases in the legislative                     threat to personal responsibility posed
                                       viduals will combat obesity is un-                      branch, where popularity and politics                  by the proliferation of such litigation,
                                       founded. Individuals, not restaurants,                  prevail. Even financial contributions                  and the need for passage of the Per-
                                       are responsible for food choices that                   are allowed.                                           sonal Responsibility in Food Consump-
                                       they make freely in their own daily                       Meanwhile, everyone else without                     tion Act.
                                       lives.                                                  special privileges is stuck trying their
                                         In addition, the food addressed by                    cases in the courts, where they have an                                 b 1100
                                       this legislation is legal and unadulter-                unbiased judge and jury, instead of fa-                  Since the gentleman from Florida
                                       ated, and the rights of individuals to                  vorable politicians, and they are stuck                (Mr. KELLER) introduced a similar bill
                                       pursue lawsuits resulting from claims                   with the same law that applies to ev-                  last year, 21 States have passed laws
                                       like the mislabeling of food or food                    erybody else.                                          banning these so-called obesity law-
                                       safety issues is preserved. Our country                   This is not the only recent example                  suits.
                                       has a history of providing its citizens                 of special treatment. Just a few                         The opponents of this bill will claim
                                       with a safe and affordable food supply.                 months ago, we changed the law for                     that this shows that Congress should
                                       It is unacceptable to make arguments                    Terri Schiavo because her parents                      not intervene. In reality, it means we
                                       that certain types of food that are sold                knew how to reach someone in Con-                      must. Without a complete ban on these
                                       in certain types of restaurants as a re-                gress; and we ignored the multitude of                 frivolous lawsuits, rogue trial lawyers,
                                       sult of consumer demand are somehow                     judicial decisions that had already                    and I have many trial lawyers who are
                                       dangerous and that the average con-                     been decided, and we changed the law                   friends and who work very hard to get
                                       sumer must bear the burden in higher                    for that case, not cases like that, just               the appropriate kind of compensation
                                       food costs because of the overindul-                    for that case.                                         for people who are injured, but many of
                                       gence by some individuals who file                        A few years ago, in a child custody                  these rogue trial lawyers will forum
                                       these types of lawsuits.                                case in the Washington, DC, area that                  shop until they find a State and a dis-
                                         This bill is not about whether fast                   case was decided by special legislative                trict that gets them the exorbitant
                                       food causes obesity. The bill is about                  language in a transportation appro-                    payday that they seek.
                                       self-responsibility.                                    priations bill. The Committee on Edu-                    I would remind my colleagues that
                                         Today, the Congress of the United                     cation and the Workforce likewise con-                 John Banzhaf, an attorney who testi-
                                       States is saying to a select group of                   sidered a case on appeal between the                   fied last year against this bill, stated
                                       lawyers that laws are not intended to                   Department of Labor and a bank and                     in 2003, ‘‘Somewhere, there is going to
                                       protect people from these types of ex-                  voted to retroactively change the law                  be a judge and a jury that will buy this,
                                       cesses, from essentially eating too                     to fix the result on behalf of the bank.               and once we get the first verdict, as we
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                                       much, and the courtrooms were never                     Later today, as my colleague from                      did with tobacco, it will open the flood-
                                       meant for that reason. It is really pret-               North Carolina has pointed out, the                    gates.’’
                                       ty simple. If you eat too much, you get                 House will probably pass legislation to                  It is unlikely that lawsuits against
                                       fat. It is your fault. Do not try to                    fix the result in firearms legislation so              food establishments over their menus
                                       blame somebody else.                                    that the firearms industry will get to                 will make us healthier. Such lawsuits

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                                       H8928                                              CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                    October 19, 2005
                                       will threaten thousands of jobs and,                    attempts to reach as far up the food                   gain can occur for a variety of medical
                                       more importantly, such lawsuits send                    chain as possible with unfounded                       reasons related to a variety of different
                                       the wrong message regarding personal                    claims seeking unjust enrichment.                      causes.
                                       choices and personal responsibility. Do                   While preventing frivolous claims,                     For example, I mean probably all of
                                       we want our kids growing up believing                   this legislation would protect legiti-                 us have had a mom or a grandmom or
                                       it is always someone else’s fault?                      mate lawsuits. It would allow claims to                an uncle to whom we say, hey, I no-
                                          Mr. Chairman, it is not only impor-                  go forward in several circumstances,                   ticed your legs are swelling again.
                                       tant, but also fundamental that Ameri-                  including cases in which a State or                    Fluid retention. Fluid retention. Now,
                                       cans have access to courts to address                   Federal law was broken. Other types of                 that can be from a variety of causes.
                                       their legitimate wrongs and the harms                   food-related lawsuits not dealing with                 That is not from increased caloric in-
                                       that they cause. The trial bar serves an                obesity would also be protected.                       take. That could have been, for exam-
                                       invaluable purpose in helping average                     The American public understands the                  ple, from a food additive, maybe a
                                       Americans gain rightful and propor-                     importance of this effort. According to                cause that was not known to the public
                                       tionate compensation when harm is                       a recent Gallup poll, almost 90 percent                of some kind of additive in something
                                       done. However, frivolous lawsuits such                  of Americans oppose holding res-                       that they had eaten or drank. It may
                                       as the ones this legislation seeks to                   taurant owners responsible for the                     have been something that interfered
                                       prevent serve only to undermine our                     diet-related health problems of regular                with one of their medications and led
                                       legal system and those who truly need                   fast food consumers.                                   to fluid retention. I am just making up
                                       its protections and the moral fiber of                    H.R. 554 is a common sense bill that                 hypotheticals here. Or, the hypo-
                                       Americans who should be self-reliant                    will protect legitimate businesses from                thetical, perhaps you have something
                                       and responsible for their choices.                      frivolous lawsuits, and I urge my col-                 that is actually a heart poison from
                                          Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues                   leagues to support this important leg-                 some food additive that has no calories
                                       to support the underlying bill, H.R. 554.               islation.                                              in it, zero calories in it, but over a pe-
                                          Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I reserve                      Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5                    riod of time does bad things to the abil-
                                       the balance of my time.                                 minutes to the gentleman from Arkan-                   ity of your heart to function. The
                                          Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-                        sas (Mr. SNYDER).                                      pump does not work so well, you start
                                       man, I yield 3 minutes to the gen-                        Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman, I appre-                   having fluid retention. What happens?
                                       tleman from Virginia (Mr. GOODLATTE),                   ciate this discussion today. The points                You put on weight. As a family doctor,
                                       the chairman of the Committee on Ag-                    I want to make are really more in the                  one of the reasons when you go in, I
                                       riculture.                                              spirit of questions. I come out of a                   would weigh people, as you want to see
                                          Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I                       State legislative body where the pro-                  what is going on with their fluid sta-
                                       rise in strong support of H.R. 554, the                 ponents of a bill such as the gentleman                tus. That is weight gain.
                                       Personal Responsibility in Food Con-                    from Wisconsin would have to undergo                     Under this bill, which I believe is so
                                       sumption Act, and I thank the gen-                      a rigorous, almost cross-examination.                  broadly written, it would include those
                                       tleman from Wisconsin for moving this                   We function here differently. But I do                 kinds of situations. The word ‘‘calorie’’
                                       legislation to the floor. This legisla-                 have some questions, and I think I will                or ‘‘caloric intake’’ or ‘‘caloric con-
                                       tion will help prevent frivolous law-                   just present them in my comments and                   tent’’ is nowhere in this bill, and I
                                       suits that allege that the consumption                  if somebody wants to comment on                        again refer my colleagues, it is not in
                                       of lawful food products caused injuries                 them they can.                                         the bill itself, you have to go to the
                                       resulting from obesity or weight gain.                    I heard one of the previous speakers                 code, the term ‘‘food’’ means, articles
                                          The food service industry employs                    say, well, this is a simple bill. If you               used for food or drink for man or other
                                       some 11.7 million people, making it the                 eat something and get fat, you should                  animals, chewing gum, and articles
                                       Nation’s largest employer outside of                    be responsible for it. I think that is the             used for components of any such arti-
                                       the government. However, this vital in-                 attitude of the great majority of Amer-                cle.
                                       dustry has recently come under attack                   icans, that you should be responsible                    Anything you drink, anything in it,
                                       by waves of lawsuits arguing that it                    for what you eat. But I want to make                   regardless of caloric intake, is covered
                                       should be liable for the misuse or                      two broad points.                                      by this bill. Anything that leads to
                                       ‘‘over-consumption’’ of its legal food                    First of all, I want to read the defini-             weight gain is covered by this bill, even
                                       products by others.                                     tion of food, and it refers to another                 if it has nothing to do with caloric in-
                                          It is common sense that individuals                  section of code. It is very short. This is             take. I think that is far abroad. I think
                                       should take responsibility for their                    from section 201(f), 21 U.S.C. 301, sec-               this is probably one of the reasons why
                                       own dietary and eating habits. Unfor-                   tion 201(f). ‘‘The term ‘food’ means (1)               it died in the Senate and will die again,
                                       tunately, trial lawyers have ulterior                   articles used for food or drink for man                but I would encourage people to look at
                                       motives for these lawsuits. They have                   or other animals, (2), chewing gum, and                these kinds of details if there is intent
                                       made their intentions quite clear, call-                (3) articles used for components of any                to move this bill forward.
                                       ing the fast food industry the next to-                 such article.’’                                          Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-
                                       bacco. They estimate potential profits                    So we are having a discussion here                   man, I yield 2 minutes to the gen-
                                       of $40 billion from obesity-related law-                today about the fact, as the previous                  tleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. MUR-
                                       suits. It is crucial that something be                  speaker had said, it is simple, you eat,               PHY).
                                       done to guard against these aggressive                  you get fat, you should be responsible.                  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. Chairman, I thank
                                       attacks.                                                  The problem is, this bill language                   the chairman for yielding me this
                                          These ill-conceived lawsuits require                 makes no reference to only the caloric                 time.
                                       businesses to devote hard-earned dol-                   containing components of food. It is                     Mr. Chairman, opponents of this leg-
                                       lars to litigate unmerited claims. In                   very deliberately written I believe to                 islation have said we do not need this
                                       order to help ensure that America con-                  include all food additives, no matter                  bill. They said, we need a debate on
                                       tinues to be a good place to do busi-                   how small amounts, and the fact that                   health care, and I am pleased to engage
                                       ness, and to help create and maintain                   the great majority of food additives                   in that debate. I am reminded of the
                                       American jobs, it is important that we                  have zero caloric intake and would                     book that talks about everything I
                                       not allow opportunistic trial lawyers                   have no relationship to obesity, I think               need to know in life I learned in kin-
                                       to extort money from legitimate com-                    that is a flaw in the bill. That leads to              dergarten. I have learned a few things
                                       panies.                                                 the second point.                                      here.
                                          This bill also protects our Nation’s                   The bill specifically mentions weight                  Lawsuits do not lower obesity rates.
                                       farmers and ranchers from the poten-                    gain and obesity. Well, I think most of                Lawsuits do not improve the nutrition
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                                       tially far-reaching effects of these law-               us have a sense of what obesity is.                    habits of children. Lawsuits do not re-
                                       suits. American agriculture produces                    Weight gain is a whole different issue,                duce the $127 million annual medical
                                       the safest, most affordable and abun-                   and weight gain may occur not from                     costs that our Nation incurs on obe-
                                       dant food supply in the world and                       obesity, not from getting fat, not from                sity-related conditions in children and
                                       should be protected from trial lawyers’                 putting on too many calories; weight                   the increase in obesity rates.

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                                       October 19, 2005                                   CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                                      H8929
                                         Mr. Chairman, parents need to teach                      I do not understand. We cannot be so                their mistakes. Thanks to the welfare state,
                                       their children at early ages to eat                     intent on getting a particular result, so              too many Americans believe they are entitled
                                       healthy meals and to establish exercise                 results-oriented that we disregard ev-                 to pass the costs of their mistakes on to a
                                       routines for their families. School dis-                erything that we have set up in place                  third party—such as the taxpayers or a cor-
                                       tricts need to make sure they have                      to deal with problems of this kind: Our                poration with ‘‘deep pockets.’’
                                       gym classes and serve the right kinds                   judiciary, our State legislatures, our                    While I oppose the idea of holding food
                                       of food as an option. Proper diet and                   common sense.                                          manufacturers responsible for their customers’
                                       exercise will help reduce medical com-                     Mr. SCHWARZ of Michigan. Mr. Chairman,              misuse of their products, I cannot support ad-
                                       plications that are increasingly com-                   I rise today in strong support of H.R. 554, the        dressing this problem by nationalizing tort law.
                                       mon in children, such as hypertension,                  Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption            It is long past time for Congress to recognize
                                       diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart                   Act.                                                   that not every problem requires a Federal so-
                                       disease which were once found almost                       As a physician, and just as someone who             lution. This country’s founders recognized the
                                       exclusively in adults.                                  can read the data, I can tell you that we have         genius of separating power among Federal,
                                         In my years working as a psycholo-                    an epidemic of obesity in this country. Obesity        State, and local governments as a means to
                                       gist and oftentimes consulting with                     is a serious health problem, with very serious         maximize individual liberty and make govern-
                                       courts, I have yet to find a court that                 consequences.                                          ment most responsive to those persons who
                                       can replace a parent. When will we                         The most important step we can take to              might most responsibly influence it. This sepa-
                                       learn we cannot litigate compassion,                    curb obesity is to impart to everyone in this          ration of powers strictly limits the role of the
                                       we cannot mandate common sense, and                     country that obesity can be controlled when            Federal Government in dealing with civil liabil-
                                       we certainly cannot legislate personal                  we take personal responsibility. A healthy and         ity matters; and reserves jurisdiction over mat-
                                       responsibility.                                         consistent diet, with an adequate amount of
                                         H.R. 554 will do more than restrict                                                                          ters of civil tort, such as food related neg-
                                                                                               exercise, will work wonders. That’s the simple         ligence suits, to the State legislatures.
                                       lawsuits against food and manufactur-                   truth.
                                       ers for weight-related cases. It forces                    We must get away from the notion there is              Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would remind the
                                       us to take personal responsibility for                  anything remotely approaching a quick fix to           food industry that using unconstitutional Fed-
                                       ourselves and our families and put a                    obesity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires      eral powers to restrict State lawsuits makes it
                                       priority on establishing healthy life-                  a life-long dedication to one’s own well-being.        more likely those same powers will be used to
                                       styles.                                                 A lawsuit will not help anyone lose weight. Al-        impose additional Federal control over the
                                         Here are the facts. If you touch a                    lowing consumers to sue their local restaurant,        food industry. Despite these lawsuits, the
                                       flame, you are going to get burned. If                  to sue half the food industry, means that we           number one threat to business remains a Fed-
                                       you eat a lot and do not exercise, you                  are telling our citizens, ‘‘It’s not your fault that   eral government freed of its Constitutional re-
                                       are going to gain weight. We need to                    you are obese.’’                                       straints. After all, the Federal government im-
                                       take personal responsibility for that.                     Mr. Chairman, that’s the wrong tack to take.        poses numerous taxes and regulations on the
                                         The bill before us directly protects                  I support this legislation because it sends the        food industry, often using the same phony
                                       individual freedoms of all Americans                                                                           ‘‘pro-consumer’’ justifications used by the trial
                                                                                               message to everyone in the United States,
                                       from a tiny minority who try to ex-                                                                            lawyers. Furthermore, while small business,
                                                                                               young and old, that taking control of your
                                       ploit the legal system for personal                                                                            such as fast-food franchises, can move to an-
                                                                                               weight is your responsibility, and taking per-
                                       gain. I strongly support H.R. 554, and I                                                                       other State to escape flawed State tax, regu-
                                                                                               sonal responsibility is the only way that weight
                                       commend the chairman for his work.                                                                             latory, or legal policies, they cannot as easily
                                         Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield                       control can be achieved.
                                                                                                  I commend the gentleman from Florida, Mr.           escape destructive Federal regulations. Un-
                                       myself such time as I may consume.                                                                             constitutional expansions of Federal power, no
                                         This is where I think we are. Some of                 KELLER, and Chairman SENSENBRENNER, for
                                                                                               their work on this legislation, and I urge pas-        matter how just the cause may seem, are not
                                       us are frustrated by some of the litiga-                                                                       in the interests of the food industry or of lovers
                                       tion that has taken place in this area.                 sage of the bill.
                                                                                                  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, Congress is once            of liberty.
                                       I said it when we debated this bill the
                                       last time on the floor. I am not a fan of               again using abusive litigation at the State level         In conclusion, while share the concern over
                                       fat litigation either, but sometimes we                 as a justification nationalizing tort law. In this     the lawsuits against the food industry that in-
                                       have to be patient enough in a legisla-                 case, the Personal Responsibility in Food              spired H.R. 554, this bill continues the dis-
                                       tive body to let the institutions that                  Consumption Act (H.R. 554) usurps State ju-            turbing trend of federalizing tort law. Enhanc-
                                       are supposed to work, work. They are                    risdiction over lawsuits related to obesity            ing the power of the Federal government is in
                                       working. Most of the lawsuits that                      against food manufacturers.                            no way in the long-term interests of defenders
                                       have been filed in this area have been                     Of course, I share the outrage at the obesity       of the free market and Constitutional liberties.
                                       dismissed. Most of them have been dis-                  lawsuits. The idea that a fast food restaurant         Therefore, I must oppose this bill.
                                       missed. That is what the courts are for.                should be held legally liable because some of             Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I rise
                                       We do not always get the result we                      its customers over indulged in the restaurant’s        today in support of H.R. 554, the Personal Re-
                                       want, but the courts are there to make                  products, and thus are suffering from obesity-         sponsibility in Food Consumption Act.
                                       a determination of what results are ap-                 related health problems, is the latest blow to
                                                                                                                                                         You may have heard about the overweight
                                       propriate and not under the laws that                   the ethos of personal responsibility that is fun-
                                                                                                                                                      maintenance worker from New York, who
                                       exist.                                                  damental in a free society. After all, McDon-
                                                                                                                                                      sued McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and
                                         The State legislatures are respond-                   alds does not force anyone to eat at its res-
                                                                                                                                                      KFC for causing his two heart attacks and dia-
                                       ing. Mr. Chairman, there are 26 pending                 taurants. Whether to make Big Macs or salads
                                                                                                                                                      betes. Or the class-action lawsuit against
                                       laws out there in the States. A number                  the staple of one’s diet is totally up to the indi-
                                                                                                                                                      McDonald’s where the lawyers named children
                                       of them have different components, dif-                 vidual. Furthermore, it is common knowledge
                                                                                                                                                      as the defendants.
                                       ferent nuances. Some of them are ret-                   that a diet centering on super-sized cheese-
                                       roactive, some of them are not. What-                   burgers, French fries, and sugar-filled colas is          These stories may sound funny, but the
                                       ever happened to our belief that the                    not healthy. Therefore, there is no rational           facts show these types of frivolous lawsuits
                                       State legislatures, the States are a lab-               basis for these suits. Some proponents of law-         bankrupt businesses, deplete pensions, gouge
                                       oratory of good legislation? I thought                  suits claim that the fast food industry is ‘‘prey-     consumers and deprive Americans with real
                                       that is what my colleagues who are                      ing’’ on children. But isn’t making sure that          complaints access to their day in court.
                                       supporting this bill believed in more                   children limit their consumption of fast foods            American consumers actually pay $1,200
                                       heartily than anything else they came                   the responsibility of parents, not trial lawyers?      more for goods and services every year be-
                                       to Congress to talk about. When it is                   Will trial lawyers next try to blame the manu-         cause of lawsuit abuse. Studies also found
                                       convenient for them, when it is conven-                 facturers of cars that go above 65 miles per           that the cost of litigation accounts for one-third
                                       ient for them, there is no more impor-                  hour for speeding tickets?                             of the price of an 8-foot aluminum ladder, it
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                                       tant mantra to them than the mantra                        Congress bears some responsibility for the          doubles the price of a football helmet, it adds
                                       of States rights. What are we doing to                  decline of personal responsibility that led to         $500 to the sticker price of a new car, and in-
                                       States rights here, in an area that                     the obesity lawsuits. After all, Congress cre-         creases the cost of a pacemaker by $3,000.
                                       throughout history has been the prov-                   ated the welfare state that popularized the no-        We all end up paying a huge price for lawsuit
                                       ince of the States?                                     tion that people should not bear the costs of          abuse.

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                                       H8930                                              CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                         October 19, 2005
                                           But perhaps the most potentially disastrous         cause the well-heeled McDonald’s Corporation           SEC. 3. PRESERVATION OF SEPARATION OF POW-
                                       effect of frivolous lawsuits is the cost of Amer-       doesn’t want to face a legitimate lawsuit for
                                                                                                                                                        (a) IN GENERAL.—A qualified civil liability ac-
                                       ican jobs. American businesses are a con-               false advertising. Many of the pending cases           tion may not be brought in any Federal or State
                                       sistent target of frivolous claims, which bleed         are for false advertising, claiming food is low        court.
                                       the essential capital they need to create jobs.         fat when it’s really not, and this bill is so             (b) DISMISSAL OF PENDING ACTIONS.—A quali-
                                       And with such a lawsuit happy nation, many              broadly worded that it would preclude such             fied civil liability action that is pending on the
                                       companies simply choose to pack up shop                 cases from going forward.                              date of the enactment of this Act shall be dis-
                                       and move overseas.                                         The threat of legitimate lawsuits against           missed immediately by the court in which the
                                           At what point will we say enough is                 fast-food corporations is as much a part of            action was brought or is currently pending.
                                                                                                                                                         (c) DISCOVERY.—
                                       enough? At what point will we start supporting          creating social change as is the threat of a              (1) STAY.—In any action that is allegedly of
                                       personal responsibility and stop supporting             Congressional investigation. I believe that both       the type described in section 4(5)(B) seeking to
                                       personal injury lawyers?                                are equally legitimate and democratic. We              impose liability of any kind based on accumula-
                                           Options on a menu do not lead to obesity,           wouldn’t want judges to ban us from holding            tive acts of consumption of a qualified product,
                                       but unhealthy habits do. At what point are we           hearings and nor should we ban them from               the obligation of any party or non-party to
                                       going to stop the frivolous lawsuits from per-          hearing cases                                          make disclosures of any kind under any appli-
                                       sonal injury trial lawyers that are simply trying                                                              cable rule or order, or to respond to discovery
                                                                                                  Even more important than the issue of obe-
                                       to make an easy buck off of overweight Ameri-                                                                  requests of any kind, as well as all proceedings
                                                                                               sity or Congressional meddling in the judicial         unrelated to a motion to dismiss, shall be stayed
                                       cans?                                                   branch is the fundamental right of every Amer-         prior to the time for filing a motion to dismiss
                                           Mr. Chairman, I urge all my colleagues to           ican to have their day in court. Even if you eat       and during the pendency of any such motion,
                                       pass H.R. 554. Let’s take a stand for personal          12 Big Macs a day, you have a right to plead           unless the court finds upon motion of any party
                                       responsibility and freedom. Let’s stamp out             your case before a judge. And the judge has            that a response to a particularized discovery re-
                                       frivolous lawsuits. Let’s preserve the integrity        the right to throw the case out, but Congress          quest is necessary to preserve evidence or to pre-
                                       of our judicial system, and let’s stop personal         has no business preemptively closing the               vent undue prejudice to that party.
                                       injury trial lawyers from ripping off American                                                                    (2) RESPONSIBILITY OF PARTIES.—During the
                                                                                               courthouse doors to a particular group of              pendency of any stay of discovery under para-
                                       consumers.                                              Americans.
                                           Mr. HONDA. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to                                                                   graph (1), the responsibilities of the parties with
                                                                                                  Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield                     regard to the treatment of all documents, data
                                       express my concern that we are again dealing            back the balance of my time.                           compilations (including electronically recorded
                                       with a notion that there is a crisis in our courts                                                             or stored data), and tangible objects shall be
                                                                                                  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-
                                       with obesity lawsuits. H.R. 554, the so-called                                                                 governed by applicable Federal or State rules of
                                                                                               man, I yield back the balance of my
                                       ‘‘Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption                                                                  civil procedure. A party aggrieved by the failure
                                       Act’’ is a measure that seeks to give federal                                                                  of an opposing party to comply with this para-
                                                                                                  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. PUT-                       graph shall have the applicable remedies made
                                       immunity to food manufacturers, sellers, and
                                                                                               NAM). All time for general debate has                  available by such applicable rules, provided that
                                       advertisers for obesity-related claims. The re-
                                                                                               expired.                                               no remedy shall be afforded that conflicts with
                                       ality is there is only one such pending suit in
                                                                                                  Pursuant to the rule, the committee                 the terms of paragraph (1).
                                       the entire country, so I am hard pressed to                                                                       (d) PLEADINGS.—In any action that is alleg-
                                                                                               amendment in the nature of a sub-
                                       see why we need to take up this measure                                                                        edly of the type described in section 4(5)(B)
                                                                                               stitute printed in the bill shall be con-
                                       today, especially since there are so many                                                                      seeking to impose liability of any kind based on
                                                                                               sidered as an original bill for the pur-
                                       other important issues we need to address.                                                                     accumulative acts of consumption of a qualified
                                           I do not think it is the role of the United         pose of amendment under the 5-minute                   product, the complaint initiating such action
                                       States Congress to intervene in every indi-             rule, and shall be considered read.                    shall state with particularity—
                                       vidual and private issue in America. Our Na-               The text of the committee amend-                       (1) each element of the cause of action;
                                       tion is plagued by childhood obesity and heart          ment in the nature of a substitute is as                  (2) the Federal and State statutes or other
                                                                                               follows:                                               laws that were allegedly violated;
                                       disease, and we should be looking into real                                                                       (3) the specific facts alleged to constitute the
                                       solutions to this problem, we should not be fo-                             H.R. 554                           claimed violation of law; and
                                       cusing our efforts on getting rid of one lawsuit          Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep-           (4) the specific facts alleged to have caused
                                       currently pending against a fast food outlet.           resentatives of the United States of America in        the claimed injury.
                                           Furthermore, the language in H.R. 554 is so         Congress assembled,                                       (e) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—No provision of
                                       broad it would cut off legitimate claims against        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.                                this Act shall be construed to create a public or
                                                                                                 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Personal Re-          private cause of action or remedy.
                                       the food industry, even where the industry
                                                                                               sponsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005’’.        SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
                                       acted to deceive the public and even where it
                                                                                               SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSE.                                In this Act:
                                       violated State or Federal law. For instance,                                                                      (1) ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS.—The term ‘‘en-
                                       those in the food industry who fraudulently or            (a) FINDINGS.—Congress finds that—                   gaged in the business’’ means a person who
                                       deceptively market or sell low-fat products that          (1) the food and beverage industries are a sig-      manufactures, markets, distributes, advertises,
                                       are not really low-fat should be held account-          nificant part of our national economy;                 or sells a qualified product in the person’s reg-
                                       able but this measure would let them off the              (2) the activities of manufacturers and sellers      ular course of trade or business.
                                                                                               of foods and beverages substantially affect               (2) MANUFACTURER.—The term ‘‘manufac-
                                       hook. Lawsuits aimed at unscrupulous tactics            interstate and foreign commerce;
                                       help to change the behavior of the bad actors                                                                  turer’’ means, with respect to a qualified prod-
                                                                                                 (3) a person’s weight gain, obesity, or a health     uct, a person who is lawfully engaged in the
                                       in the industry we should allow our legal sys-          condition associated with a person’s weight gain       business of manufacturing the product.
                                       tem to process these legitimate cases.                  or obesity is based on a multitude of factors, in-        (3) PERSON.—The term ‘‘person’’ means any
                                           Mr. Chairman, our legal system has multiple         cluding genetic factors and the lifestyle and          individual, corporation, company, association,
                                       procedural safeguards to ensure that frivolous          physical fitness decisions of individuals, such        firm, partnership, society, joint stock company,
                                       litigation is thrown out and that meritorious           that a person’s weight gain, obesity, or a health      or any other entity, including any governmental
                                       claims are preserved. That is why I oppose              condition associated with a person’s weight gain       entity.
                                                                                               or obesity cannot be attributed to the consump-           (4) QUALIFIED PRODUCT.—The term ‘‘qualified
                                       H.R. 554.
                                                                                               tion of any specific food or beverage; and             product’’ means a food (as defined in section
                                           Mr. STARK. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposi-
                                                                                                 (4) because fostering a culture of acceptance        201(f) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
                                       tion to the Personal Responsibility in Food             of personal responsibility is one of the most im-      Act (21 U.S.C. 321(f))).
                                       Consumption Act because I don’t think that              portant ways to promote a healthier society,              (5) QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY ACTION.—
                                       any industry should have the right to conduct           lawsuits seeking to blame individual food and             (A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph
                                       its business without the oversight of the judi-         beverage providers for a person’s weight gain,         (B), the term ‘‘qualified civil liability action’’
                                       cial system. What the lawyer-bashers don’t              obesity, or a health condition associated with a       means a civil action brought by any person
                                       want you to know is that frivolous lawsuits, by         person’s weight gain or obesity are not only le-       against a manufacturer, marketer, distributor,
                                       definition, get thrown out of court. In other           gally frivolous and economically damaging, but         advertiser, or seller of a qualified product, or a
                                                                                               also harmful to a healthy America.                     trade association, for damages, penalties, de-
                                       words, the much-feared million-dollar settle-
                                                                                                 (b) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this Act is to           claratory judgment, injunctive or declaratory
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                                       ment for someone who eats 12 Big Macs a                 allow Congress and regulatory agencies to deter-       relief, restitution, or other relief arising out of,
                                       day is not going to happen.                             mine appropriate laws, rules, and regulations to       or related to a person’s accumulated acts of con-
                                           That’s why there are only a few obesity             address the problems of weight gain, obesity,          sumption of a qualified product and weight
                                       cases in court right now and why the only rea-          and health conditions associated with weight           gain, obesity, or a health condition that is asso-
                                       son we’re considering this bill today is be-            gain or obesity.                                       ciated with a person’s weight gain or obesity,

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                                       October 19, 2005                                   CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                                     H8931
                                       including an action brought by a person other             Page 5, line 13, insert ‘‘and the specific           in America. And, in essence, where you
                                       than the person on whose weight gain, obesity,          facts alleged to satisfy each element of the           end up is that lawyers who represent
                                       or health condition the action is based, and any        cause of action’’ before the semicolon.                people who are claiming to have a
                                       derivative action brought by or on behalf of any          Page 5, line 15, strike ‘‘were allegedly vio-
                                                                                               lated;’’ and insert ‘‘allegedly create the
                                                                                                                                                      cause of action are not only now, under
                                       person or any representative, spouse, parent,
                                       child, or other relative of that person.                cause of action; and’’.                                this language, called upon to represent
                                          (B) EXCEPTION.—A qualified civil liability ac-         Page 5, line 16, strike ‘‘the specific facts’’       their clients and make a reasonable ef-
                                       tion shall not include—                                 and all that follows through the end of line           fort to determine whether there is a
                                          (i) an action based on allegations of breach of      19 and insert ‘‘the section 4(5)(B) exception          basis for their claim, they have to be
                                       express contract or express warranty, provided          being relied upon and the specific facts that          the jury also. They have to go out and
                                       that the grounds for recovery being alleged in          allegedly satisfy the requirements of that             decide, are there enough facts here on
                                       such action are unrelated to a person’s weight          exception.’’.
                                       gain, obesity, or a health condition associated
                                                                                                                                                      each and every cause of action against
                                                                                                 The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to                     each and every defendant to win this
                                       with a person’s weight gain or obesity;
                                          (ii) an action based on allegations that—            House Resolution 494, the gentleman                    case and win it profoundly. They have
                                          (I) a manufacturer or seller of a qualified          from Wisconsin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER)                     to allege specific facts.
                                       product knowingly violated a Federal or State           and the gentleman from North Caro-                       I mean, that is the kind of stuff that
                                       statute applicable to the marketing, advertise-         lina (Mr. WATT) each will control 5                    normally gets done at a trial if a case
                                       ment, or labeling of the qualified product with         minutes.                                               even gets that far. Most of these cases
                                       intent for a person to rely on that violation;            The Chair recognizes the gentleman
                                          (II) such person individually and justifiably
                                                                                                                                                      are being dismissed really. So most of
                                                                                               from Wisconsin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER).                    them are not going to get that far any-
                                       relied on that violation; and
                                          (III) such reliance was the proximate cause of         Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-                        way.
                                       injury related to that person’s weight gain, obe-       man, I yield myself such time as I may                   But I am not sure what role dis-
                                       sity, or a health condition associated with that        consume.                                               covery or any other aspect of our legal
                                       person’s weight gain or obesity; or                       Mr.     Chairman,     this   manager’s               process is playing anymore if we pass
                                          (iii) an action brought by the Federal Trade         amendment makes technical changes                      this manager’s amendment. This is
                                       Commission under the Federal Trade Commis-              to the section of the bill that sets forth             much, much more than a technical
                                       sion Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) or by the Federal       the information plaintiffs must provide
                                       Food and Drug Administration under the Fed-
                                                                                                                                                      amendment. This is a very substantive
                                       eral Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C.
                                                                                               in order for a judge to determine                      amendment. And, unfortunately, I
                                       301 et seq.).                                           whether the lawsuit is banned by the                   think it makes a bill that is already a
                                          (6) SELLER.—The term ‘‘seller’’ means, with          bill or allowed to go forward under one                very, very bad bill, it makes it a very,
                                       respect to a qualified product, a person lawfully       of the bill’s exceptions.                              very, very bad bill. I oppose this
                                       engaged in the business of marketing, distrib-            These minor changes are meant to                     amendment.
                                       uting, advertising, or selling a qualified prod-        provide a judge with a clear under-                      Mr. Chairman, I yield back the bal-
                                       uct.                                                    standing of the type of information the                ance of my time.
                                          (7) STATE.—The term ‘‘State’’ includes each of
                                       the several States of the United States, the Dis-
                                                                                               judge is to consider in deciding a mo-                   Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-
                                       trict of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto           tion to dismiss under H.R. 554.                        man, I yield back the balance of my
                                       Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American                  The pleading provision in H.R. 554 is                time.
                                       Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern             meant to apply to any action claiming                    The Acting CHAIRMAN. The ques-
                                       Mariana Islands, and any other territory or             obesity-related damages, and this                      tion is on the amendment offered by
                                       possession of the United States, and any polit-         amendment makes clear that the                         the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
                                       ical subdivision of any such place.                     pleading requirements will apply to all                SENSENBRENNER).
                                          (8) TRADE ASSOCIATION.—The term ‘‘trade as-                                                                   The amendment was agreed to.
                                                                                               cases seeking obesity-related damages.
                                       sociation’’ means any association or business or-                                                                The Acting CHAIRMAN. It is now in
                                       ganization (whether or not incorporated under
                                                                                                 Also adding the phrase ‘‘for each de-
                                                                                               fendant and cause of action’’ clarifies                order to consider amendment No. 2
                                       Federal or State law) that is not operated for
                                       profit, and 2 or more members of which are man-         that a judge must apply H.R. 554’s                     printed in House Report 109–249.
                                       ufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers,       pleading requirements to each specific                  AMENDMENT NO. 2 OFFERED BY MS. JACKSON-
                                       or sellers of a qualified product.                      claim. This prevents a plaintiff from                               LEE OF TEXAS

                                         The Acting CHAIRMAN. No amend-                        improperly using a claim that is not                     Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr.
                                       ment to the committee amendment is                      barred by H.R. 554 as a means of pur-                  Chairman, I offer an amendment.
                                       in order except those printed in House                  suing obesity-related claims that are                    The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk
                                       Report 109–249. Each amendment may                      barred by the bill against the same or                 will designate the amendment.
                                       be offered only in the order printed in                 other defendants. This change would                      The text of the amendment is as fol-
                                       the report, by a Member designated in                   prevent entire industries from being                   lows:
                                       the report, shall be considered read,                   ensnared in lawsuits where the rel-                      Amendment No. 2 offered by Ms. JACKSON-
                                                                                               evant facts relate to only one com-                    LEE of Texas:
                                       shall be debatable for the time speci-                                                                           Page 6, line 24, insert after ‘‘trade associa-
                                       fied, equally divided and controlled by                 pany.                                                  tion,’’ the following: ‘‘or a civil action
                                       the proponent and an opponent of the                      Finally, other technical changes                     brought by a manufacturer or seller of a
                                       amendment, shall not be subject to                      would simply ensure consistency by                     qualified product, or a trade association,
                                       amendment and shall not be subject to                   using the same terms in the pleading                   against any person,’’.
                                       a demand for division of the question.                  sections as are used elsewhere in the                    The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to
                                         It is now in order to consider amend-                 bill.                                                  House Resolution 494, the gentlewoman
                                       ment No. 1 printed in House Report                        I would ask all of my colleagues to                  from Texas (Ms. JACKSON-LEE) and the
                                       109–249.                                                support these common sense, technical                  gentleman from Utah (Mr. CANNON)
                                                                                               amendments.                                            each will control 5 minutes.
                                                             b 1115
                                                                                                 Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance                    The Chair recognizes the gentle-
                                              AMENDMENT NO. 1 OFFERED BY MR.                   of my time.                                            woman from Texas (Ms. JACKSON-LEE).
                                                    SENSENBRENNER                                Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I yield                        Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr.
                                         Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chair-                         myself such time as I may consume.                     Chairman, I yield myself such time as
                                       man, I offer an amendment.                                Mr. Chairman, normally when we see                   I may consume.
                                         The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. PUT-                         a manager’s amendment come to the                        Mr. Chairman, let me thank my dis-
                                       NAM). The Clerk will designate the                      floor, it is an improving amendment.                   tinguished ranking member of the sub-
                                       amendment.                                              Unfortunately this one makes a bad                     committee, the gentleman from North
                                         The text of the amendment is as fol-                  bill actually worse than it was origi-                 Carolina (Mr. WATT) both for his kind-
                                       lows:                                                   nally drawn, and it does so in this way.               liness and his astuteness.
                                         Amendment No. 1 offered by Mr. SENSEN-
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                                                                                               There are already pleading require-                      Let me thank the chairman of the
                                         Page 4, line 8, strike ‘‘(B)’’.
                                                                                               ments in every State, and basically                    full committee, the gentleman from
                                         Page 5, line 9, strike ‘‘(B)’’.                       what this amendment does is make                       Wisconsin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER), and
                                         Page 5, line 12, insert ‘‘for each defendant          those pleading requirements higher for                 the ranking member of the full com-
                                       and cause of action’’ before the dash.                  the food industry than for anybody else                mittee, the gentleman from Michigan

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                                       H8932                                              CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                       October 19, 2005
                                       (Mr. CONYERS), which gives me a                             They took Ms. Winfrey to court, the                   My amendment insures that what’s good for
                                       chance to catch my breath.                              trial      lawyers,      but     neglect      the      the geese is good for the gander. Those ad-
                                         We were in a Homeland Security                        straggering costs that may be borne by                 vancing healthy diets by discouraging the con-
                                       hearing which is going on, as many of                   private citizens should they dare ques-                sumption of certain foods because of their ad-
                                       my colleagues know, assessing the cir-                  tion the health effects of any qualified               verse effects on a person’s health and weight
                                       cumstances with Hurricane Rita and                      food product under this bill. Where are                gain should not be subject to litigation from
                                       Hurricane Katrina.                                      the first amendment rights and con-                    the food industry while it stands immunized
                                         I know the gentleman from Wis-                        sumer rights? My amendment ensures                     from any accountability under this bill.
                                       consin (Mr. SENSENBRENNER) is well                      that what is good for the geese is good                   I don’t recall any hue and cry in this body
                                       aware of great intention in our com-                    for the gander. Those advancing                        during or in the aftermath of the lawsuit
                                       mittee to always work together, and so                  healthy diets by discouraging the con-                 against Ms. Winfrey to ban food libel laws.
                                       I offer this amendment recognizing                      sumption of certain foods, their right,                The system worked. But if we are to end the
                                       that my colleagues will consider this                   their constitutional right, even though                public’s right to a jury trial on issues of food
                                       as an opportunity to work together.                     I come from a beef State, because of                   safety, we cannot end the public’s right to
                                         One could argue that in the backdrop                  their adverse effects perceived on a                   freedom of speech by leaving food critic who
                                       of Hurricane Wilma now reaching a                       person’s health and weight gain, should                play an important role in educating the public,
                                       Category 5, that this Congress should                   not be subjected to litigation from the                stimulating positive change, and promoting
                                       be addressing many, many other issues,                  food industry while it stands immu-                    sound eating habits open to lawsuits from an
                                       particularly enhanced funding for                       nized from any accountability under                    immunized industry.
                                       homeland security, and, of course, how                  this bill.                                                This amendment addresses this concern
                                       we can do things better.                                    Again, I wish we were on the floor                 and insures that every American can engage
                                         This legislation that is before us                    talking about restoring the drastic                    in or has access to an open and honest de-
                                       needs to be improved. My amendment                      cuts in the budget reconciliation bill                 bate on matters of public health.
                                                                                               that deal with health care and deal                       Once again, Mr. Chairman, I urge my col-
                                       would prohibit the food industry,
                                                                                               with housing and deal with the various                 leagues to support my amendment.
                                       which enjoys broad immunity under                                                                                 Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield
                                       this bill, from initiating lawsuits                     issues of education and special grants
                                                                                               to help the least of those, but we are on              myself such time as I may consume.
                                       against any person for damages or                                                                                 Mr. Chairman, the amendment was
                                       other relief due to injury or potential                 the floor talking about McDonald’s and
                                                                                                                                                      defeated last year on the floor by voice
                                       injury based on a person’s consumption                  Burger King, certainly friends of young
                                                                                                                                                      vote. It should be defeated again this
                                       of a qualified product, and weight gain,                parents who, through their professions                 year. This amendment would add to
                                       obesity, or any health condition that is                and other responsibilities did a lot of                the list of qualified civil liability ac-
                                       associated with a person’s weight gain                  eating at Burger King and McDonald’s,                  tions that cannot be brought under the
                                       or obesity.                                             but it does not in any way give them                   bill, civil actions brought by a manu-
                                         In essence, this is an amendment to                   the privilege of denying consumer                      facturer or seller of a qualified product
                                       protect against consumer retaliation.                   rights and the rights of consumers not                 or trade association against any person
                                       My colleagues realize that this par-                    to be retaliated against because they                  for obesity-related claims.
                                       ticular bill, whether or not it rises to                have expressed their viewpoint and the                    Whatever the rhetorical purpose the
                                       the level of a national crisis or even                  rights of the first amendment.                         sponsor of this amendment seeks to ac-
                                       needs fixing, really immunes, if you                        I do not recall any hue and cry in                 complish, it should be defeated because
                                       will, the vast fast food industry.                      this body during or in the aftermath                   it is badly drafted, and in the context
                                         Now, those of us who have raised                      against Ms. Winfrey to ban food liabil-                of the bill, its application would be
                                       children during this timeframe will                     ity suits. The system worked. But if we                nonsensical. The bill only operates to
                                       never know until the final tests are in,                are to end the public’s right to a jury                prohibit lawsuits brought by people be-
                                       studies are done 10 and 20 years from                   trial on issues of food safety, we cannot              cause they ate too much and got fat.
                                       now, as to whether or not the eating of                 end the public’s right to freedom of                      The amendment would add corpora-
                                       fast food that many of us took our                      speech by leaving food critics, who play               tions to the list of those who cannot
                                       young children to for play and excite-                  an important role in educating the                     sue because they got fat. But whatever
                                       ment, is going to be long-lasting in its                public, as I close, stimulating positive               the intent of the amendment is, the
                                                                                               change on good sound eating habits.                    fundamental problem is that corpora-
                                                                                                   I ask my colleagues to support this                tions cannot gain weight and suffer
                                         But yet we believe that this industry
                                                                                               amendment.                                             from obesity, which is the term used in
                                       now needs a blanket protection from                         Mr. Chairman, this amendment would pro-
                                       those who may be negatively impacted,                                                                          the bill. A corporation, for example,
                                                                                               hibit the food industry—which enjoys broad             cannot eat too much and a trade asso-
                                       obesity, weight gain or any other                       immunity under this bill—from initiating law-
                                       health problems. Yet there is no simi-                                                                         ciation cannot gain weight over the
                                                                                               suits against any person for damages or other          holidays.
                                       lar protection against consumers who                    relief due to injury or potential injury based on         For all of these reasons this amend-
                                       may desire to petition these griev-                     a person’s consumption of a qualified product          ment should be defeated.
                                       ances.                                                  and weight gain, obesity, or any health condi-            Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of
                                         It allows the industry to willy-nilly                 tion that is associated with a person’s weight         my time to the gentleman from Texas
                                       and randomly sue consumers. This                        gain or obesity.                                       (Mr. SMITH).
                                       amendment is necessary to ensure that                       This amendment is necessary to insure that            Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I
                                       the public debate on the health and nu-                 the public debate on the health and nutritious         oppose this amendment but support the
                                       tritious effects of mass-marketed food                  effects of mass marketed food products is not          underlying bill, H.R. 554, the Personal
                                       and products is not completely                          completely squelched by this bill.                     Responsibility in Food Consumption
                                       quelched by this bill.                                      In 1996, Oprah Winfrey was sued under my           Act.
                                         In 1996, Oprah Winfrey was sued                       home State’s ‘‘food disparagement’’ laws by               It is an important piece of legislation
                                       under my home State’s food disparage-                   the beef industry for comments she made fol-           that continues a series of tort reform
                                       ment laws by the beef industry for                      lowing the first ‘‘Mad cow’’ scare this country        measures considered in Congress this
                                       comments she made following the first                   witnessed. After years of litigation, transfer of      year. We passed this bill during the
                                       mad cow scare this country witnessed,                   her television show to Texas, and an expendi-          108th Congress, and we should pass it
                                       albeit she was denied her first amend-                  ture of over one million dollars, Ms. Winfrey          again today. I am an original cosponsor
                                       ment rights.                                            prevailed at trial and on appeal.                      of H.R. 554, which will prevent a few
                                         After years of litigation in my State,                    Proponents of this bill assert that the food       lawyers from seeking to destroy an-
                                       transfer of her television show to Texas                industry will incur significant cost defending         other industry that employs millions
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                                       and expenditure of over $1 million, Ms.                 ‘‘frivolous’’ lawsuits by the trial lawyers, but       of people and provides a welcome serv-
                                       Winfrey prevailed at trial and on ap-                   neglect the staggering costs that may be               ice to individuals who choose to use it.
                                       peal. Proponents of this bill assert that               borne by private citizens should they dare                In general, the bill prohibits weight
                                       the food industry will incur significant                question the health effects of any ‘‘qualified         gain related claims against the food in-
                                       costs defending frivolous lawsuits.                     food product’’ under this bill.                        dustry. It allows such claims only

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                                       October 19, 2005                                   CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE                                                               H8933
                                       where a person gained weight as a re-                     The question was taken; and the Act-                 adolescents. But apparently few here in
                                       sult of the food industry breaking a                    ing Chairman announced that the noes                   Washington seem to have taken notice
                                       State or Federal law. I remember in                     appeared to have it.                                   or cared, and predictably rates have
                                       2002, when individuals filed a lawsuit                    Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr.                        continued to rise across the country.
                                       against McDonald’s alleging that the                    Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.                      Today, one in three children is over-
                                       fast food chain had made them over-                       The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to                     weight. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I said one
                                       weight and unhealthy.                                   clause 6 of rule XVIII, further pro-                   in three, almost 35 percent. And what
                                         I remember thinking that people                       ceedings on the amendment offered by                   has been Congress’s response to the
                                       should take responsibility for their                    the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms.                        growing epidemic? Has it provided
                                       own eating habits. But it is no longer                  JACKSON-LEE) will be postponed.                        more funding for obesity awareness or
                                       just one suit against one company.                        The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Com-                        tried to implement programs to im-
                                       Now there are suits against all types of                mittee will rise informally.                           prove nutrition in schools? No. Instead,
                                       the 900,000 restaurants in the food in-                   The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr.                         Congress brings forwards a bill to im-
                                       dustry from small local eateries to                     TERRY) assumed the Chair.                              munize fast food companies. Where is
                                       giant fast food chains.                                                                                        the logic?
                                         We must set a limit as to what litiga-                                                                         Those supporting the bill talk about
                                       tion is allowed. A nonfrivolous claim                       MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE                            choice, the freedom to eat. Well, we are
                                       should proceed, but a suit dictating the                  A message from the Senate by Ms.                     talking about young children and, of
                                       food choices of Americans should be                     Curtis, one of its clerks, announced                   course, we want them to eat correctly,
                                       stopped before it is even filed.                        that the Senate has passed a bill of the               healthy, and that is not the primary
                                         The reality is that restaurant meals                  following title in which the concur-                   responsibility of the fast food industry.
                                       will change according to what people                    rence of the House is requested:                       Childhood obesity is best tackled at
                                       prefer to eat. In recent years we have                                                                         home through improved parental in-
                                                                                                 S. 1886. An act to authorize the transfer of
                                       seen fast food chains add more healthy                  naval vessels to certain foreign recipients.           volvement, increased physical exercise,
                                       choices, like salad and fruit, to their                                                                        better diet and restraint from eating.
                                                                                                The SPEAKER pro tempore. The                            However, as a parent, as a grand-
                                       menus, but people should have the free-                 Committee will resume its sitting.                     parent, as a former educator, I know
                                       dom to eat what they want.                                                f                                    that these practices alone when we are
                                                        b 1130                                   PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN                           dealing with young children are insuffi-
                                         Mr. Chairman, we should encourage                      FOOD CONSUMPTION ACT OF 2005                          cient. We will never control this rising
                                       personal responsibility and healthy                                                                            epidemic without greater account-
                                                                                                 The Committee resumed its sitting.                   ability from the food industry.
                                       eating in our society, but we should                      The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. PUT-
                                       not encourage lawsuits that blame oth-                                                                           Congress is headed in the wrong di-
                                                                                               NAM). It is now in order to consider                   rection with this bill which removes
                                       ers for our own choices and that could                  amendment No. 3 printed in House Re-
                                       bankrupt entire industries. Because                                                                            any and all incentives from the food in-
                                                                                               port 109–249.                                          dustry to improve their products for
                                       Americans should have the freedom to
                                       eat what they want and because we
                                                                                                    AMENDMENT NO. 3 OFFERED BY MR. FILNER             children. Congress has allowed the
                                       should take responsibility for our own                    Mr. FILNER. Mr. Chairman, I offer                    greed of big corporations to come be-
                                       actions, I support the passage of the                   an amendment.                                          fore the need of our children. Today,
                                                                                                 The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk                       the younger generation faces a litany
                                       Personal Responsibility in Food Con-
                                                                                               will designate the amendment.                          of health issues that generations before
                                       sumption Act.
                                                                                                 The text of the amendment is as fol-                 just never did. Heart disease, high
                                         Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, how
                                                                                               lows:                                                  blood pressure, hypertension, joint
                                       much time remains?
                                                                                                 Amendment No. 3 offered by Mr. FILNER:               problems, asthma, diabetes and cancer
                                         The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. PUT-
                                                                                                 At the end of the bill, add the following            are on the increase with these young
                                       NAM). The gentleman from Utah has 2
                                                                                               new section:                                           children; and a steady diet of fast food
                                       minutes remaining.
                                                                                               SEC. ll. LIMITATION.                                   is the last thing they need. Unfortu-
                                         Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1
                                                                                                 Notwithstanding any other provision of               nately, fast food restaurants are bom-
                                       minute to the gentlewoman from Texas
                                                                                               this Act, this Act does not apply to an action         barding our children with advertise-
                                       (Ms. JACKSON-LEE).                                      brought by, or on behalf of, a person injured          ments that encourage overconsumption
                                         Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr.                         at or before the age of 8, against a seller            of unhealthy eating choices.
                                       Chairman, I simply ask the question,                    that, as part of a chain of outlets at least 20          The average child views 20,000 tele-
                                       in this bill consumers are left vulner-                 of which do business under the same trade              vision commercials every year. That is
                                       able, and I would ask the gentleman                     name (regardless of form of ownership of any
                                                                                                                                                      about 55 a day. More disturbingly, the
                                       would he not work with me in this                       outlet), markets qualified products to mi-
                                                                                               nors at or under the age of 8.                         commercials for candy, snacks, sugared
                                       amendment to ensure that they are not                                                                          cereals and other food with poor nutri-
                                       left vulnerable as we are protecting our                  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to                     tional content far out-number commer-
                                       fast-food industry?                                     House Resolution 494, the gentleman                    cials for more healthy food choices. So
                                         Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, will the                    from California (Mr. FILNER) and the                   it is not just a matter of individual re-
                                       gentlewoman yield?                                      gentleman from Utah (Mr. CANNON)                       sponsibility, of individual choice when
                                         Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I yield                     each will control 5 minutes.                           we are talking about young children
                                       to the gentleman from Utah.                               The Chair recognizes the gentleman                   under 8.
                                         Mr. CANNON. I am not sure when we                     from California (Mr. FILNER).                            Studies indicate that these children
                                       would work together on the amend-                         Mr. FILNER. Mr. Chairman, the pur-                   are more susceptible to advertising and
                                       ment. I suppose perhaps in conference                   pose of this amendment today is two-                   even less likely to understand the pur-
                                       we could work on the issue, but I am                    fold: one, to protect young children                   pose of this advertising. So why is so
                                       loath to commit the chairman to that                    and, two, to force better accountability               much advertising at home done during
                                       process.                                                from the fast food industry.                           the cartoon hours? It is no coincidence
                                         Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank                       My amendment exempts those 8                         that major fast food chains routinely
                                       the gentleman. I just want to acknowl-                  years of age and under from the provi-                 run their advertisements during this
                                       edge that the bill does not protect con-                sions of this bill as it relates to fast               time. Experts in this field unequivo-
                                       sumers, and I ask Members to support                    food restaurants.                                      cally state that the fear of litigation
                                       my amendment.                                             Mr. Chairman, in 2001 the U.S. Sur-                  and regulation prompts the industry to
                                         Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, I yield                     geon General proclaimed childhood                      rethink how it markets and sells food
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                                       back the balance of my time.                            obesity a health issue rivaling ciga-                  to children. This has been evidenced by
                                         The Acting CHAIRMAN. The ques-                        rette smoking. The Surgeon General                     some of the recent changes made with-
                                       tion is on the amendment offered by                     further stated that the rate of over-                  in the industry.
                                       the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms.                         weight children in America doubled in                    Unfortunately, the bill as presently
                                       JACKSON-LEE).                                           the past 20 years and tripled among its                written forecloses the opportunity to

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