|For Immediate Release
September 8, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, (202) 225-3951
Smith Outlines Judiciary Jobs Agenda
Washington, D.C. – Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today outlined the Judiciary Jobs Agenda for the remainder of 2011, which includes legislation to encourage innovation, reduce frivolous lawsuits, rein in federal regulations and protect jobs for American workers.
Chairman Smith: “When Republicans became the majority in House of Representatives, we promised to make putting Americans back to work our top priority. The House Judiciary Committee has been working hard to help keep that promise. We have made significant progress on the Judiciary Jobs Agenda by introducing and advancing legislation that encourages innovation, reduces frivolous lawsuits, reins in regulations and protects jobs for American workers. This fall, we will continue those efforts by passing legislation that can create jobs for millions of Americans struggling to find work.”
Below is a summary of legislation that the House Judiciary Committee has advanced to help generate jobs for American workers.
America Invents Act (H.R. 1249): The current patent system is broken. The average wait time for patent approval in the U.S. is three years. The Patent and Trademark Office has a backlog of 1.2 million patents pending approval. Uncertainty about patent ownerships encourages lawsuits that typically cost $5 million to defend and prevent legitimate inventors and industrious companies from creating products and generating jobs. The America Invents Act updates our patent system to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth. The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1249 earlier this year by a vote of 304-117. The Senate is expected to vote on the House proposal as early as this week.
Protect IP from Rogue Websites: Intellectual property industries contribute 19 million jobs, more than 60% of U.S. exports, and support tens of thousands of small businesses across America. The success of our economy relies in part on the success of America’s IP industries. Unfortunately, our intellectual property continues to be stolen, marketed and distributed by rogue websites operated outside of the U.S. The House Judiciary Committee is working on legislation to stop the theft of intellectual property and protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing counterfeit goods.
Reduce Frivolous Lawsuits:
HEALTH Act (H.R. 5): According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 40% of malpractice suits filed in the U.S. are “without merit.” These suits drive up the cost of health care for all Americans and drive many experienced medical professionals out of their profession. The HEALTH Act incorporates lawsuit abuse reforms that have proved effective at reducing costs and enhancing the quality of care by limiting frivolous lawsuits.
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (H.R. 966): Lawsuit abuse has become all too common in American society partly because the lawyers who bring these cases have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Plaintiffs’ lawyers can file frivolous suits, no matter how absurd the claims, without any penalty. Meanwhile, defendants are faced with the choice of years of litigation, high court costs and attorneys’ fees or a settlement. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act restores accountability to our legal system by reinstating mandatory sanctions on attorneys who file meritless suits.
Rein in Federal Regulations:
REINS Act (H.R. 10): A recent Heritage Foundation study reported that in his first two years in office, President Obama imposed 75 new major rules costing the private sector more than $40 billion. In 2011, the Obama administration is expected to propose over 200 regulations costing over $100 million each. And more than 4,200 additional regulations are in the pipeline. Uncertainty about the cost of these upcoming regulations discourages employers from hiring new employees and expanding their businesses. The REINS Act restores accountability to the regulatory process by requiring congressional approval for any regulation with an economic impact of at least $100 million before it can be imposed on American businesses.
Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 527): Small businesses are America’s most critical job creators. But federal regulations hit them particularly hard. The costs of federal regulations prevent small businesses from spending money for business expansion and new employees. The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act requires federal agencies to identify and reduce the costs that new regulations could impose on small businesses.
Jobs, Growth and Regulatory Accountability Act: According to the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost our economy $1.75 trillion per year. That’s money that should be going toward new products, innovations, business expansion and job creation. This fall, the House Judiciary Committee will introduce legislation to lower the costs of regulations on all businesses and provide more transparency to the regulatory process.
Protect Jobs for Legal Workers:
Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164): Despite record unemployment, seven million people work in the U.S. illegally. We could open up millions of jobs for citizens and legal immigrants if we simply enforced worksite immigration laws. The Legal Workforce Act helps preserve jobs for legal workers by requiring companies to use E-Verify, a federal program that allows employers to check whether future employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S. E-Verify is free, quick, and easy to use—those eligible to work are immediately confirmed 99.5% of the time. Over 270,000 employers voluntarily use E-Verify and an average of 1,300 new businesses sign up each week. This bill is one of the most significant steps we can take to open up millions of jobs for legal workers.