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Frist & Hastert rigged defense legislation, without anybody knowing they slipped in language protecting pharmaceutical lobbyists from lawsuits

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Another BIG story. Basically, Frist and Hastert secretly slipped language into the defense bill, AFTER IT HAD ALREADY BEEN VOTED ON, language that nobody knew about, that wasn't agreed to, so it became law. And why did they do it? Well, Frist has received over a quart of a million dollars from big pharmaceutical lobbyists - so you paint the picture.

Read this entire article:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert engineered a backroom legislative maneuver to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits, say witnesses to the pre-Christmas power play.

The language was tucked into a Defense Department appropriations bill at the last minute without the approval of members of a House-Senate conference committee, say several witnesses, including a top Republican staff member.

In an interview, Frist, a doctor and Tennessee Republican, denied that the wording was added that way.

Trial lawyers and other groups condemn the law, saying it could make it nearly impossible for people harmed by a vaccine to force the drug maker to pay for their injuries....

Frist has received $271,523 in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical and health products industry since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.

He is also a possible candidate for president in 2008.
One more VERY odd thing, the staff director of the Senate Appropriations Committee is talking on the record about this, which is very strange since he's a Republican, his boss is a Republican, and he's pointing the finger at Republicans. He's naming names, including the names of several Republican Senators. It sounds like GOP Senator Cochran, the actual chairman of the Senate approps committee, was left out of the process, they went around him, so Keith, his chief of staff for the committee, is now speaking publicly. Wow.
Keith Kennedy, who works for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., as staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee, said at a seminar for reporters last month that the language was inserted by Frist and Hastert, R-Ill., after the conference committee ended its work.

"There should be no dispute. That was an absolute travesty," Kennedy said at a videotaped Washington, D.C., forum sponsored by the Center on Congress at Indiana University.

"It was added after the conference had concluded. It was added at the specific direction of the speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate. The conferees did not vote on it. It's a true travesty of the process."

After the conference committee broke up, a meeting was called in Hastert's office, Kennedy said. Also at the meeting, according to a congressional staffer, were Frist, Stevens and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

"They (committee staff members) were given the language and then it was put in the document," Kennedy said.
PS The Republicans control the Senate, the House, the White House and the Supreme Court. If you don't like what you're seeing, vote for a change in November.

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