LAWSUIT ABUSE REDUCTION ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 42
(House of Representatives - March 10, 2017)

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[Pages H2025-H2041]
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                  LAWSUIT ABUSE REDUCTION ACT OF 2017


                             General Leave

  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 720.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 180 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 720.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. Jenkins) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  0915


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 720) to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to 
improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes, with Mr. 
Jenkins of West Virginia in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte) and the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Conyers) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, would restore mandatory 
sanctions for frivolous lawsuits filed in Federal court.
  Many Americans may not realize it, but today, under what is called 
rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, there is no 
requirement that those who file frivolous lawsuits pay for the 
unjustified legal costs they impose on their victims, even when those 
victims prove to a judge the lawsuit was without any basis in law or 
fact.
  As a result, the current rule 11 goes largely unenforced because the 
victims of frivolous lawsuits have little incentive to pursue 
additional litigation to have the case declared frivolous when there is 
no guarantee of compensation at the end of the day.
  H.R. 720 would finally provide light at the end of the tunnel for the 
victims of frivolous lawsuits by requiring sanctions against the filers 
of frivolous lawsuits, sanctions which include paying back victims for 
the full cost of their reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result 
of the rule 11 violation, including attorneys' fees.
  The bill also strikes the current provisions in rule 11 that allow 
lawyers to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims and demands by 
simply withdrawing them within 21 days. This change eliminates the 
``free pass'' lawyers now have to file frivolous lawsuits in Federal 
court.
  The current lack of mandatory sanctions leads to the regular filing 
of lawsuits that are baseless. So many frivolous pleadings currently go 
under the radar because the lack of mandatory sanctions for frivolous 
filings forces victims of frivolous lawsuits to roll over and settle 
the case, because doing that is less expensive than litigating the case 
to a victory in court.
  Correspondence written by someone filing a frivolous lawsuit, which 
became public, concisely illustrates how the current lack of mandatory 
sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits leads to legal extortion. That 
correspondence to the victim of a frivolous lawsuit states: ``I really 
don't care what the law allows you to do. It's a more practical issue. 
Do you want to send your attorney a check every month indefinitely as I 
continue to pursue this?''
  Under the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, those who file frivolous 
lawsuits would no longer be able to get off scot-free and, therefore, 
they couldn't get away with those sorts of extortionary threats any 
longer.
  The victims of lawsuit abuse are not just those who are actually 
sued. Rather, we all suffer under a system in which innocent Americans 
everywhere live under the constant fear of a potentially bankrupting 
frivolous lawsuit.
  As the former chairman of The Home Depot company has written: ``An 
unpredictable legal system casts a shadow over every plan and 
investment. It is devastating for startups. The cost of even one ill-
timed abusive lawsuit can bankrupt a growing company and cost hundreds 
of thousands of jobs.''
  The prevalence of frivolous lawsuits in America is reflected in the 
absurd warning labels companies must place on their products to limit 
their exposure to frivolous claims. A 5-inch brass fishing lure with 
three hooks is labeled ``Harmful if swallowed.'' A household iron 
contains the warning ``Never iron clothes while they are being worn.'' 
A piece of ovenware warns, ``Ovenware will get hot when used in oven.''
  And here are just a couple of examples of frivolous lawsuits brought 
in Federal court, where judges failed to award compensation to the 
victims:

[[Page H2026]]

  A man sued a television network for $2.5 million because he said a 
show it aired raised his blood pressure. When the network publicized 
his frivolous lawsuit, he demanded the court make them stop. Although 
the court found the case frivolous, not only did it not compensate the 
victim, it granted the man who filed the frivolous lawsuit an exemption 
from even paying the ordinary court filing fees.
  In another case, lawyers filed a case against a parent, claiming the 
parent's discipline of their child violated the Eighth Amendment of the 
Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment by the 
government, not private citizens. One of the lawyers even admitted 
signing the complaint without reading it.
  The court found the case frivolous, but awarded the victim only about 
a quarter of its legal costs because rule 11 currently doesn't require 
that a victim's legal costs be paid in full. The Lawsuit Abuse 
Reduction Act would change that.

  I thank the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith, 
for introducing this simple, commonsense legislation that would do so 
much to prevent lawsuit abuse and restore Americans' confidence in the 
legal system. I urge my colleagues to support it today.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 720, the so-called Lawsuit Abuse 
Reduction Act.
  This bill amends rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 
ways that will chill the advancement of civil rights claims and 
increase exponentially the volume and costs of litigation in the 
Federal courts.
  These concerns are not hypothetical. H.R. 720 restores the deeply 
flawed version of rule 11 in effect from 1983 to 1993 in two ways: by 
requiring mandatory sanctions for even unintentional violations rather 
than leaving the imposition of sanctions to the court's discretion, as 
is currently the case; and secondly, by eliminating the current rule's 
21-day safe harbor provision, which allows the defending party to 
correct or withdraw allegedly offending submissions.
  Simply put, H.R. 720 will have a disastrous impact on the 
administration of justice in numerous ways. To begin with, the bill 
will chill legitimate civil rights litigation, which, to me, of course, 
is very important.
  Civil rights cases often raise novel legal arguments, which made such 
cases particularly susceptible to sanction motions under the 1983 rule. 
For example, a Federal Judicial Center study found that the incidence 
of rule 11 motions under the 1983 rule was ``higher in civil rights 
cases than in some other types of cases.''
  Another study showed that, while civil rights cases comprised about 
11 percent of the cases filed, more than 22 percent of the cases in 
which sanctions had been imposed were, in fact, civil rights cases.
  Under the 1983 rule, civil rights cases were clearly disadvantaged. 
Yet, H.R. 720 would reserve this problematic regime.
  Although the bill's rule of construction is a welcome acknowledgment 
of the problem, it does nothing to prevent defendants from using rule 
11 as a weapon to discourage civil rights plaintiffs. Even a landmark 
case like Brown v. Board of Education might not have been pursued had 
H.R. 720's changes to rule 11 been in effect at that time, because the 
legal arguments in the case were novel and not based on then-existing 
law.
  In addition, H.R. 720 will substantially increase the amount, cost, 
and intensity of civil litigation and create more grounds for 
unnecessary delay and harassment in the courtroom itself.
  By making sanctions mandatory and having no safe harbor, the 1983 
rule spawned a cottage industry of rule 11 litigation. Each party had a 
financial incentive to tie up the other in rule 11 proceedings.
  We heard testimony on a previous version of this bill that almost 
one-third of all Federal lawsuits during the decade that the 1983 rule 
was in effect were burdened by such satellite litigation, where the 
parties tried the underlying case and then put each side's counsel on 
trial.
  Finally, H.R. 720 strips the judiciary of its discretion and 
independence. H.R. 720 overrides judicial independence by removing the 
discretion that rule 11 currently gives judges in determining whether 
to impose sanctions and what type of sanctions would be most 
appropriate. It also circumvents the painstakingly thorough Rules 
Enabling Act process that Congress established more than 80 years ago.
  For all of these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join us in opposing 
this highly problematic legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, known as LARA, is just 
over one-page long, but it would prevent the filing of thousands of 
frivolous lawsuits in Federal courts. These absurd lawsuits cost many 
innocent families their savings and often ruin their reputations.
  Frivolous lawsuits have been filed against a weather channel for 
failing to accurately predict storms, against television shows people 
claimed were too scary, against a university that awarded a low grade, 
and against a high school that dropped a member from the track team.
  Lawyers who bring these cases have everything to gain and nothing to 
lose under current rules, which allow plaintiffs' lawyers to file 
frivolous suits without any penalty. Meanwhile, defendants are often 
faced with years of litigation and substantial attorneys' fees.
  Prior to 1993, it was mandatory for judges to impose sanctions, such 
as orders to pay for the other side's legal expenses, when lawyers 
filed frivolous lawsuits. Then, the Civil Rules Advisory Committee, an 
obscure branch of the courts, made penalties optional. This needs to be 
reversed by Congress.
  LARA requires lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits to pay attorneys' 
fees and court costs of innocent defendants. This will serve as a 
disincentive to file junk lawsuits.
  Further, LARA specifically requires that no changes ``shall be 
construed to bar or impede the assertion or development of new claims, 
defenses, or remedies under Federal, State, or local laws, including 
civil rights laws, or under the Constitution of the United States.''
  So civil rights law would not be affected in any way by LARA, and 
that might go a long way to reassuring the ranking member's concerns 
about its impact on civil rights.
  Opponents argue that reinstating mandatory sanctions for frivolous 
lawsuits impedes judicial discretion, but this is false. Under LARA, 
judges retain the discretion to determine whether or not a claim is 
frivolous. If a judge determines that a claim is frivolous, then they 
must award sanctions. This ensures that victims of frivolous lawsuits 
obtain compensation. But the decision to determine whether a claim is 
frivolous or not remains with the judge.
  The American people are looking for solutions to obvious lawsuit 
abuse. LARA restores accountability to our legal system by reinstating 
sanctions for attorneys who are found by a judge to have filed 
frivolous lawsuits. Though it will not stop all lawsuit abuse, LARA 
encourages attorneys to think twice before making an innocent party's 
life miserable.

                              {time}  0930

  These attorneys engage in legalized extortion and try to force 
individuals to settle out of court instead of paying huge legal costs. 
There is currently no disincentive to deter attorneys from filing 
frivolous claims. By requiring attorneys who file junk lawsuits to pay 
the court costs of those they sue, such lawsuits will be discouraged.
  I thank Chairman Goodlatte, the chairman of the Committee on the 
Judiciary, for bringing this much-needed legislation to the House 
floor. I ask my colleagues who oppose frivolous lawsuits and who want 
to protect innocent Americans from false charges to support the Lawsuit 
Abuse Reduction Act.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler),

[[Page H2027]]

the senior member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 720, the 
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. This bill is supposedly aimed at 
preventing frivolous litigation, but it would, in fact, generate a 
whole new set of litigation, further clogging our overburdened Federal 
courts.
  Under rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may 
impose sanctions on a party that files a frivolous case or motion. A 
party subject to a rule 11 violation has a 21-day safe harbor period to 
withdraw or correct its filing, and sanctions are purely discretionary. 
This rule serves a vital role in maintaining the integrity of our legal 
system without creating a chilling effect on presenting novel claims. 
Judges, when they see frivolous suits, can sanction them and do.
  This bill, however, would restore a failed version of rule 11 that 
was enacted by the Judicial Conference in 1983, but which was repealed 
10 years later because it led to disastrous results. Under this bill, 
sanctions would be mandatory whenever a court rules that rule 11 has 
been violated. The safe harbor period, when filings can be withdrawn or 
corrected, would be eliminated.
  We do not have to speculate about what would happen as a result of 
this bill because we have a decade of experience that shows us how 
catastrophic it would be and was. Under the 1983 rule, which this bill 
would restore, rule 11 battles became a routine part of civil 
litigation, affecting one-third of all cases. Rather than serving as a 
disincentive, the old rule 11 actually made the system even more 
litigious.
  In the decade following the 1983 amendments, there were almost 7,000 
reported rule 11 cases, becoming part of approximately one-third of all 
Federal civil lawsuits. Civil cases effectively became two cases, one 
on the merits and the other on a set of dueling rule 11 allegations by 
both parties. The drain on the courts and the parties' resources caused 
the Judicial Conference to revisit the rule and adopt the changes that 
this bill would now have us undo.
  More troubling was the 1983 rule's impact on civil rights cases, 
which are often based on novel claims that require significant 
discovery to establish. A 1991 Federal Judicial Center study found that 
whereas civil rights cases made up 11.4 percent of Federal cases filed, 
they constituted 22.7 percent of the cases in which sanctions were 
imposed. If we return to the old rule, we could see a chilling effect 
in which untested, but no less valid, civil rights claims are never 
brought for fear of sanctions.
  The courts have ample authority to sanction conduct that undermines 
the integrity of our legal system. But this legislation is not just a 
solution in search of a problem. By taking us back to a time when rule 
11 actually promoted routine, costly, and unnecessary litigation, this 
bill is a cure worse than the disease.
  Given that we already know this bill will be a failure, one wonders 
how it would survive its own rule 11 motion if Congress had such a 
thing. The courts, having tried it for 10 years with disastrous 
results, rightly rejected this approach 20 years ago, and we should 
reject it again. I urge a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume 
to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot), a senior member of the 
Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Lawsuit 
Abuse Reduction Act. I want to commend my colleague from Texas (Mr. 
Smith) for his leadership on this important bill. Mr. Smith, of course, 
who is now the chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology, was, for a number of years, the chairman of the Committee 
on the Judiciary, and he has a long reputation, much experience in 
trying to find ways to make the legal system work better for more 
people all across the country, and this is part of that, because there 
is a huge cost associated with the abusive lawsuits that have been 
filed for many years in this country.
  Businesses are a popular target for frivolous lawsuits that lack any 
legal or factual basis. These lawsuits can easily result in hundreds of 
thousands of dollars in legal fees and discovery costs. Small 
businesses oftentimes don't have the financial resources to obtain a 
dismissal or sometimes even good legal counsel, and, therefore, their 
only option, in many cases, is to settle the case. In fact, many 
businesses and other entities put aside--insurance companies do this as 
well--a nuisance value of many of these cases because they realize so 
many cases are basically filed for not really legitimate reasons, but 
because there is a cash payout at the end of this, and some who are 
able to will actually put that in their budget. But these expenses 
don't just cost small businesses time and productivity. Too often they 
force small businesses into bankruptcy, and that means real people lose 
their jobs. This happens thousands and thousands and thousands of times 
all across this country.
  Mr. Chairman, as chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, I 
cannot emphasize enough that we absolutely cannot afford to lose any 
more small businesses in this country and the associated jobs that go 
with them.
  By ensuring that there are penalties for lawyers filing frivolous 
lawsuits, H.R. 720 will deter abusive litigation practices that pose a 
real threat to the stability of many small businesses all across this 
country. After all, small businesses are the backbone of the economy. 
About 70 percent of the new jobs created in the American economy 
nowadays are created by small-business folks, so we should do 
everything we can to make sure that they are successful and able to 
hire more and more Americans so that we can get this economy moving 
again.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 720. I again thank Mr. Smith for 
putting forth this very wise and thoughtful legislation which I think 
will go a long way toward improving the legal system that we have in 
this country.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the 
distinguished gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member of the 
Committee on the Judiciary for his distinguished service and my good 
friend from Texas for his managing of this bill on which we have a 
vigorous and active disagreement, but realize that the role of the 
Committee on the Judiciary is to enhance justice for all Americans, no 
matter what size business, what ethnicity, racial background, what 
issue they bring, whether they bring a commercial issue or whether they 
are for criminal justice.
  That is why I rise to oppose this legislation, for it is important 
that we monitor, promote, coddle, and respect justice. I oppose the 
legislation that aims to restore a long-discredited version of Federal 
Rule of Civil Procedure 11, in effect from 1983 to 1993. I use as a 
premise of my argument a letter from the Committee on Rules of Practice 
and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States, in 
particular written by two distinguished Federal judges from Arizona, 
the chair of the Committee on Rules and the chair of the Advisory 
Committee on Rules, both Federal district court judges. But more 
importantly, my luck was to meet with a series of judges in the past 
week, Federal judges, Republican appointees and some Democratic 
appointees, and there was a vocal outcry of the outrage of this 
legislation, asking and begging that this legislation not be put in 
place.
  Let me give you a description from the Federal courts, recognizing: 
``We of course share the desire of the sponsors of LARA to improve the 
civil justice system''--and that is the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act--
``in our Federal courts, including the desire to reduce frivolous 
filings. But LARA creates a cure worse than the problem it is meant to 
solve.''
  ``Moreover, as we are both Federal trial judges, our perspective is 
informed by our ongoing daily experience with the practical operation 
of the rules.''
  I, too, am concerned about small businesses. That is why we need to 
proceed as we are proceeding. It gives thoughtful judges the ability to 
protect those entities. The facts do not, according to the letter, 
support any assumption that mandatory sanctions deter frivolous 
filings.
  ``A decade of experience with the 1983 mandatory sanctions 
provision,'' they go on to say, ``demonstrated that it failed to 
provide meaningful relief from

[[Page H2028]]

the litigation behavior it was meant to address, and instead generated 
wasteful satellite litigation that had little to do with the merits of 
cases.''
  What good is that for the small litigant? What good will they have 
when they might be subject to satellite litigation? And so, Mr. 
Chairman, why would we want to return to the failed, discredited 
sanction regime rightly abandoned in 1993? H.R. 720 would require 
courts to impose monetary sanctions for any rule 11 violation, 
eliminating the safe harbor provision that currently allows attorneys 
to correct or withdraw a filing before rule 11 proceedings commence. 
That is justice: I made a mistake, I want to withdraw it. I am suing a 
small business, I have a different perspective. I know the facts, let 
me withdraw it.
  The cost-shifting provision was eliminated by the courts because it 
encouraged satellite litigation, and many cases required parallel 
proceedings. Here is the worst of it: Suppose we were back in 1954. 
Would Brown v. Board of Education be a frivolous lawsuit subject to 
sanctions, a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that 
declared State laws establishing separate public schools for Black and 
White students unconstitutional? What about Griswold in 1965? It would 
also be judged as a frivolous lawsuit.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield an additional 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, Griswold was a landmark case in which 
the Supreme Court ruled that we had a right to privacy. Or what about 
the famous case that was made into a movie, Loving v. Virginia? I think 
for almost 25 years this mixed-marriage couple could not live in their 
own State. A lawsuit would have been considered frivolous. Loving was a 
landmark case which decided Virginia's antimiscegenation statute was 
unconstitutional.
  New York Times Co. v. United States in 1971, the question was on the 
constitutional freedom of the press. It reinforced the First Amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, it is impossible to go back to the old days. I ask my 
colleagues to support the Jackson Lee amendment, to come up and to 
oppose the underlying bill in the name of justice for all.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a list of seven notable cases 
the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act may have barred from a courtroom.


seven notable cases the ``lawsuit abuse reduction act'' may have barred 
                            from a courtroom

       Contrary to proponents' claims, LARA does not deter 
     frivolous lawsuits. Rather it deters meritorious cases by 
     imposing a one-size-fits-all mandate for federal judges. 
     Mandatory sanctions inevitably chill meritorious claims 
     particularly in cases of first impression or involving new 
     legal theories, including cases to protect civil rights, the 
     right to privacy, the environment, collective bargaining and 
     the First Amendment. Our system of justice is a moving body 
     of law, and novel legal theories have the ability to shift 
     public policy and law.
       Below are seven notable cases that LARA may have prevented 
     because the cases presented what--at the time they were 
     presented to the court--would have been considered novel 
     legal theories:
       Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954): 
     Brown was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme 
     Court that declared state laws establishing separate public 
     schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The 
     decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 
     which allowed state-sponsored segregation. The Court's 
     unanimous decision stated that ``separate educational 
     facilities are inherently unequal.'' As a result, de jure 
     racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal 
     Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United 
     States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for 
     integration and the civil rights movement.
       Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965): Griswold was 
     a landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the 
     Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved 
     a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. 
     By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on 
     the grounds that it violated the ``right to marital 
     privacy.''
       Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003): In Lawrence, the 
     Supreme Court considered the issue of whether adult 
     consensual sexual activity is protected by the Fourteenth 
     Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. The 
     Court found that the petitioners were free as adults to 
     engage in the private conduct in the exercise of their 
     liberty under the Due Process Clause. The decision 
     decriminalized the Texas law that made it illegal for two 
     persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual 
     conduct.
       Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 
     497 (2007): In this case, twelve states and several cities of 
     the United States brought suit against the United States 
     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the federal 
     agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 
     as pollutants. The Supreme Court found that Massachusetts, 
     due to its ``stake in protecting its quasi-sovereign 
     interests'' as a state, had standing to sue the EPA over 
     potential damage caused to its territory by global warming. 
     The Court rejected the EPA's argument that the Clean Air Act 
     was not meant to refer to carbon emissions in the section 
     giving the EPA authority to regulate ``air pollution 
     agent[s].''
       Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967): Loving was a 
     landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme 
     Court, by a 9-0 vote, declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation 
     statute, the ``Racial Integrity Act of 1924,'' 
     unconstitutional, thereby ending all race-based legal 
     restrictions on marriage in the United States.
       New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971): 
     This case considered whether the New York Times and 
     Washington Post newspapers could publish the then-classified 
     Pentagon Papers without risk of government censure. The 
     question before the Court was whether the constitutional 
     freedom of the press, guaranteed by the First Amendment, was 
     subordinate to a claimed need of the executive branch of 
     government to maintain the secrecy of information. The 
     Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected the 
     right of the New York Times to print the materials.
       Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978) 
     (The Snail Darter Case): In TVA, the Supreme Court affirmed a 
     court of appeals' judgment, which agreed with the Secretary 
     of Interior that operation of the federal Tellico Dam would 
     eradicate an endangered species. The Court held that a prima 
     facie violation of Sec. 7 of the Endangered Species Act, 16 
     U.S.C. Sec. 1536, occurred, and ruled that an injunction 
     requested by respondents should have been issued.

  Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 720, the ``Lawsuit 
Abuse Reduction Act of 2017,'' because it is both unnecessary and 
counterproductive.
  I oppose this legislation that aims to restore a long-discredited 
version of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, in effect from 1983 to 
1993.
  The current Rule 11 allows federal courts, in their discretion, to 
impose sanctions for frivolous filings and it encourages litigants to 
resolve such issues without court intervention.
  As written, H.R. 720 would change the sanctions for a violation of 
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 11 to a cost-shifting sanction payable 
to the opposing party, an antiquated version of the Rule in effect from 
1983 until 1993.
  Why, Mr. Chair would we return to the failed and discredited sanction 
regime rightly abandoned in 1993?
  H.R. 720 would require courts to impose monetary sanctions for any 
Rule 11 violation, eliminating the safe harbor provision that currently 
allows attorneys to correct or withdraw a filing before Rule 11 
proceedings commence.
  That cost-shifting provision was eliminated by the courts because it 
encouraged satellite litigation; many cases required parallel 
proceedings--one on the merits of the lawsuit and one on the Rule 11 
motion.
  The 1983 rule had a particularly negative disproportionate impact on 
plaintiffs, especially plaintiffs in civil rights cases, because 
plaintiffs in such cases often raise novel legal arguments, leaving 
them vulnerable to a Rule 11 motion by a defendant.
  Reinstating this mandatory fee shifting rule, as H.R. 720 does, will 
again have a chilling effect on plaintiffs' claims, especially 
individual plaintiffs taking on large corporate interests.
  Sanctions were more often imposed against plaintiffs than defendants 
and more often imposed against plaintiffs in certain kinds of cases, 
primarily in civil rights and certain kinds of discrimination cases.
  A leading study on this issue showed that although civil rights cases 
made up 11.4% of federal cases filed, 22.7% of the cases in which 
sanctions had been imposed were civil rights cases.
  The imposition of mandatory fees and costs ultimately shifts the 
purpose of the Rule from deterrence to compensation, encouraging 
parties to always file Rule 11 motions in the hopes of gaining 
additional compensation.
  Both the Judicial Conference of the United States and the U.S. 
Supreme Court support preservation of the current version of Rule 11(c) 
and restoring the true balance between punishing unwarranted conduct 
and deterring unnecessary litigation.
  Given the highly problematic experience under the 1983 rule, which 
sparked extensive and costly litigation, the rule burdened already 
strained federal court system, adversely affecting cases of all types, 
including civil litigation among businesses.
  Congress should be looking for ways to decrease, not increase 
wasteful burdens on

[[Page H2029]]

courts, and should avoid rule changes that have a discriminatory impact 
on civil rights, employment, environmental, and consumer cases.
  For these reasons and more, I oppose this bill.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the Judicial Conference, by its own admission, objects 
to any amendments to the Federal rules it doesn't propose itself, but 
Congress has the constitutional authority and responsibility to 
establish and amend the Federal rules. It also has the duty to address 
problems with the judicial system that fall within its enumerated 
powers. Reducing frivolous lawsuits and ensuring that those who face 
meritless filings are able to receive compensation for losses caused by 
frivolous claims is a significant improvement to our justice system.
  Also, Mr. Chairman, I would ask my colleagues, does a bill that 
grants the victims of corporate fraud the right to damages create 
satellite litigation? Of course it doesn't. What it does is create a 
means of guaranteed compensation for a wrong suffered. This bill does 
just that. It creates a means of guaranteed compensation for a wrong 
suffered; namely, the wrong of a frivolous lawsuit.
  It is the job of judges to apply the law. It is the job of Members of 
Congress to write the law. We are the people's representatives, and all 
of us have constituents who have been the victims of frivolous 
lawsuits. We are responsible for the lack of any redress today for the 
victims of frivolous lawsuits, and we aim to remedy that today by 
passing this bill on behalf of the constituents who sent us here. If 
you deny that the victims of frivolous lawsuits are real victims, then 
vote against this bill, but if you think the victims of frivolous 
lawsuits should be entitled to compensation, just like anyone else who 
proves their legal claims in court, you should support this bill.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  0945

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasure to yield 4 minutes to 
the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson).
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member for 
yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse 
Reduction Act of 2017--which is misnamed, just as all of the other 
bills that we have considered this week that are trying to crush the 
ability of plaintiffs, people who have been injured, due to the 
negligence or intentional acts of others--legislation designed to keep 
plaintiffs out of court and protect wrongdoing corporations.
  This bill is misnamed the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. I would 
propose that we take out the word ``abuse'' and just leave it as it 
really is, which is the Lawsuit Reduction Act of 2017. That is what 
this legislation is designed to do, is to stop litigation in its 
tracks.
  We have been debating the merits of a bill that the Judicial 
Conference itself does not find useful, especially considering the fact 
that they have already been through so-called lawsuit abuse reduction 
reform in the past. The Judicial Conference, of course, is the group of 
judges that helps to formulate policy for the judiciary, and they are 
the ones who know. We should consult with them. Of course, we have, as 
the legislative branch, the ability to legislate in those areas; but it 
doesn't make much sense for us to override or to ignore the views of 
the Judicial Conference when it comes to their own business.
  That is what this legislation does. It doesn't lend itself to the 
support of the Judicial Conference, which is important, especially 
since they have already been through lawsuit abuse reduction reform 
efforts that were put into place by this body, the same ones that we 
are considering today. They didn't work then; they don't work today.
  H.R. 720 ignores the discretion of well-versed judges to impose 
sanctions against attorneys engaging in unnecessary litigation. Because 
there have been critiques that the pleading standards in rule 8 of the 
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give parties a license to bring a 
multiplicity of frivolous lawsuits, rule 11 is meant to act like a 
check.
  Under rule 11, judges can sanction attorneys when they deem it is 
appropriate to curb unmeritorious lawsuits, and they use it. There is 
no question about that. Parties are being sanctioned every day under 
rule 11.
  H.R. 720 now requires that judges impose mandatory sanctions with 
monetary compensation and deprive litigants of the opportunity to cure 
a defective lawsuit. The problem with this approach is that it makes 
the cost of litigation skyrocket as litigants are required to pay for 
attorneys' fees and other filing fees.
  In addition, it creates a vicious cycle of litigation where parties 
engage in many trials over penalties to be paid as a result of rule 11 
sanction motions rather than getting to the actual merits of the case. 
This approach was tried 20 years ago. It didn't work then, and there is 
no compelling reason to think that it is going to work today.
  I ask my colleagues to oppose H.R. 720, just as I ask them to oppose 
these other attacks on the ability of plaintiffs to bring cases in 
court against wrongdoing corporate defendants, many of them 
multinationals.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, a few minutes ago, a judicial poll was mentioned. But I 
would point out to all of my colleagues that only one survey was done 
that consisted mostly of judges who had experience under both the 
stronger rule with mandatory sanctions. That poll showed overwhelming 
support for mandatory sanctions. When judges who had experience under 
both the stronger and weaker versions of rule 11 were polled, they 
overwhelmingly supported mandatory sanctions for frivolous lawsuits.
  The survey of 751 Federal judges found that an overwhelming majority 
of Federal judges believed, based on their experience under both a 
weaker and stronger rule 11, that a stronger rule 11 did not impede 
development of the law: 95 percent; the benefits of the rule outweighed 
any additional requirement of judicial time: 72 percent; the stronger 
version of rule 11 had a positive effect on litigation in the Federal 
courts: 81 percent; and the rule should be retained in its then current 
form: 80 percent. Incredible.
  A 2005 survey was also mentioned. In that survey, only 278 judges 
responded, as opposed to the 751 who responded to the survey done in 
1990. Over half of the judges who responded to the 2005 survey had no 
experience under the stronger rule 11 because they were appointed to 
the bench after 1992. So that 2005 survey tells us very little about 
how judges comparatively view the stronger versus the weaker rule 11.
  I would also point out that in the 1990 survey, roughly twice as many 
responded as in the 2005 survey.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume. 
These constitute my closing observations on this measure.
  Mr. Chairman, H.R. 720 would turn back the clock to a time when rule 
11 discouraged civil rights cases, restricted judicial discretion, and 
engendered vast amounts of time-consuming and costly so-called 
satellite litigation.
  Not surprisingly, the Judicial Conference of the United States, the 
principal policymaking body for the judicial branch charged with 
proposing amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure under the 
careful, deliberate process specified in the Rules Enabling Act, 
opposes this measure, noting that it creates a cure worse than the 
problem it is meant to solve.
  Likewise, the American Bar Association opposes this legislation, as 
do numerous consumer and environmental groups, including: Public 
Citizen, the Alliance for Justice, the Center for Justice and 
Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, 
Earthjustice, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and six 
other major organizations.

  Finally, last Congress, the Obama administration, strongly opposed a 
substantively identical measure, noting that the bill was ``both 
unnecessary and counterproductive,'' and that it ``actually increases 
litigation.''
  Accordingly, I urge my colleagues in this body to reject this flawed 
bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

[[Page H2030]]

  

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Let me first point out that this bill is being key voted by the 
United States Chamber of Commerce. It has been endorsed by the National 
Federation of Independent Business, and also endorsed by the Physicians 
Insurance Association of America.
  Mr. Chairman, let me remind Members what the base bill--which is just 
a page long--actually does. It makes it mandatory for the victims of 
frivolous lawsuits filed in Federal Court to be compensated for the 
harm done to them by the filers of frivolous lawsuits. The bill doesn't 
change the existing standards for determining what is or is not a 
frivolous lawsuit. So under the bill, mandatory sanctions would only be 
awarded to victims of frivolous lawsuits when those lawsuits have no 
basis in law or fact.
  The victims of frivolous lawsuits are real victims. They have to 
shell out thousands of dollars, endure sleepless nights, and spend time 
away from their family, work, and customers, just to respond to 
frivolous pleadings. Few would ever claim that judges should have the 
discretion to deny damage awards to victims of legal wrongs proved in 
court.
  So why should judges have the discretion to deny damage awards to 
victims of frivolous lawsuits who prove in court that the case brought 
against them was, indeed, frivolous?
  A vote against LARA, including a vote for the motion to recommit, is 
a denial of the fact that victims of frivolous lawsuits are real 
victims. But they are real victims, and they deserve to be guaranteed 
compensation when they prove in court that the claims against them are 
frivolous. This bill would do just that, and for these reasons, I urge 
my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Hultgren). All time for general debate has 
expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule. The bill shall be considered as read.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 720

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act 
     of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. ATTORNEY ACCOUNTABILITY.

       (a) Sanctions Under Rule 11.--Rule 11(c) of the Federal 
     Rules of Civil Procedure is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``may'' and inserting 
     ``shall'';
       (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``Rule 5'' and all that 
     follows through ``motion.'' and inserting ``Rule 5.''; and
       (3) in paragraph (4), by striking ``situated'' and all that 
     follows through the end of the paragraph and inserting 
     ``situated, and to compensate the parties that were injured 
     by such conduct. Subject to the limitations in paragraph (5), 
     the sanction shall consist of an order to pay to the party or 
     parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred as a 
     direct result of the violation, including reasonable 
     attorneys' fees and costs. The court may also impose 
     additional appropriate sanctions, such as striking the 
     pleadings, dismissing the suit, or other directives of a non-
     monetary nature, or, if warranted for effective deterrence, 
     an order directing payment of a penalty into the court.''.
       (b) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act or an 
     amendment made by this Act shall be construed to bar or 
     impede the assertion or development of new claims, defenses, 
     or remedies under Federal, State, or local laws, including 
     civil rights laws, or under the Constitution of the United 
     States.

  The Acting CHAIR. No amendment to the bill shall be in order except 
those printed in part A of House Report 115-29. Each such amendment may 
be offered only in the order printed in the report, by a Member 
designated in the report, shall be considered read, shall be debatable 
for the time specified in the report, equally divided and controlled by 
the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and 
shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question.


                  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Soto

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 
printed in part A of House Report 115-29.
  Mr. SOTO: Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 3, strike line 11 and all that follows through line 
     13, and insert the following:
       (2) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) by inserting after ``be presented to the court if'' the 
     following: ``discovery has not been completed and if'' ; and
       (B) by striking ``within 21 days'' and inserting ``within 
     14 days''; and

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 180, the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Soto) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reinstate the Federal 
Rules of Civil Procedure rule 11(c)(2) safe harbor provision, which 
allows parties to avoid penalties, by withdrawing or correcting the 
claims within 14 days from when the alleged violation of rule 11(b) 
becomes known, anytime up until the end of the discovery period.
  This bill would force attorneys to assess their case blindly as it 
stands. Every attorney knows to assess their case based upon an 
objective set of facts regarding the situation.
  A good attorney would never overpromise a cause of action, but this 
bill prevents even a fair assessment of a case. A full and accurate 
analysis of the merits of the case must be done on day one, because 
this bill requires mandatory sanctions with no grace period. We have 
tried this already, and it did not work.
  This bill will eliminate rule 11(c)(2)'s safe harbor provision, which 
currently allows the target of a rule 11 motion for sanctions to 
withdraw or correct the paper claim, defense, contention, or denial 
that is the subject of the motion for sanctions within 21 days after 
service.
  Between 1938 and 1983, there were only 19 rule 11 filings. In 1983, 
rule 11 was changed to the standard being proposed by this bill. In the 
10 years without this safe harbor provision, nearly 7,000 motions for 
sanctions were made. A 1989 study showed that roughly one-third of all 
Federal civil lawsuits involved rule 11 satellite litigation, and 
approximately one-fourth of all those cases on the docket involved rule 
11 actions that did not result in sanctions. Thus, attorneys had a dual 
job: one to try the case, and the other to try the opposing counsel.
  We can't go back to a failed system. The amount of sanction 
litigation that clogged the system was so extensive that in 1993, a 
mere 10 years after this failed legal experiment began, a safe harbor 
provision was established to unclog the system, and it worked. Since 
then, the amount of rule 11 sanction satellite litigation has come 
down, and the courts are now better able to focus on the case at hand.
  In committee, Mr. Cicilline of Rhode Island, recommended the 
reimplementation of the 21-day safe harbor provision.

                              {time}  1000

  Instead of following this commonsense proposal, the committee 
rejected it by an 18-4 vote. I believe such an important provision 
needs to be revisited, but with a compromise. That is why I drafted 
this amendment that offers a 14-day safe harbor provision; and as a 
measure to protect further abuse, my safe harbor amendment is only 
available prior to the completion of discovery, yet another attempt to 
have a compromise here.
  The intent for this discovery provision is that an attorney, during 
discovery, may realize a flaw in their case. Such a revelation should 
allow an attorney to correct or withdraw their claim without having the 
fear of having mandatory automatic sanctions imposed on them. Instead, 
this bill, as written, immediately places sanctions on the mistaken 
lawyer. This is well-intentioned, but it does not acknowledge the 
realities of litigation or the legal process.
  In the real world, clients can easily misrepresent a situation to 
their counsel, and the truth won't be known until discovery. This bill 
will have a stifling effect on the legal community and will lead to 
denied justice because attorneys will not be willing to take a case 
unless it is a guaranteed win.
  We should take the lessons learned from the 1983 experiment and 
preserve the safe harbor provision to protect well-intended plaintiffs' 
attorneys and not stack the deck against those who seek justice.
  Mr. Chair, I urge support for my amendment, and I reserve the balance 
of my time.

[[Page H2031]]

  

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to 
the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I oppose this amendment which 
allows lawyers who file frivolous claims to escape any sanction.
  It is essential that LARA reverse the 1993 amendments to rule 11. The 
current rule allows those who file frivolous lawsuits to avoid 
sanctions by withdrawing claims within 21 days after a motion for 
sanctions has been filed. This loophole, which LARA closes, gives 
unscrupulous lawyers an unlimited number of free passes to file 
frivolous pleadings with impunity.
  Justice Scalia correctly predicted that such amendments would, in 
fact, encourage frivolous lawsuits. Opposing the 1993 amendments in 
which the 21-day rule was instated, Justice Scalia wrote:

       In my view, those who file frivolous suits in pleadings 
     should have no safe harbor. The rules should be solicitous of 
     the abused and not of the abuser. Under the revised rule, 
     parties will be able to file thoughtless, reckless, and 
     harassing pleadings, secure in the knowledge that they have 
     nothing to lose: if objection is raised, they can retreat 
     without penalty.

  LARA would eliminate the free pass lawyers use to file frivolous 
lawsuits. This amendment would eliminate that free pass that is so 
costly to innocent Americans.
  Mr. Chairman, I oppose the amendment, and I yield back the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Chair, there is a sanction in place. You have to remove 
your claim or your assertion that is in question, and there is the cost 
of time that any attorney has to put in. But at the end of the day, we 
have already been down this road and it has failed. Now all we are 
going to see is more litigation again without the requisite increase in 
funding to our Federal courts.
  And so what we are going to see is anybody who sued--whether you are 
a plaintiff suing or defendant--is going to now have far more complex, 
dual-track litigation, and that is going to increase costs on 
businesses and on individuals who are facing litigation in our Federal 
courts. I believe we need to keep the lessons learned from the past, 
and I urge Members to adopt my amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Soto).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida will 
be postponed.


               Amendment No. 2 Offered by Ms. Jackson Lee

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 
printed in part A of House Report 115-29.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 3, beginning on line 19, strike ``shall consist of an 
     order to pay'' and all that follows through ``reasonable 
     expenses incurred'' on line 20, and insert ``may consist of 
     an order to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by the party 
     or parties''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 180, the gentlewoman 
from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, let me again emphasize our mutual 
commitment to justice and why I think the underlying bill skews justice 
and tips the scale of justice on Lady Justice.
  I again refer you to the sitting experts, and that is the Judicial 
Conference of the United States, comprised of Federal judges all across 
America. I can't help but recite this sentence that strikes me as one 
as strong as possible to have been cited in a letter.
  Their referral to LARA, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, in this one 
sentence, recognizing the concern about frivolous lawsuits or filings, 
they say:

       But LARA creates a curse worse than the problem it is meant 
     to solve.

  I think that that one sentence says it all. We are not here solving a 
problem. We are here creating a problem.
  I am particularly struck by the comments regarding small businesses. 
My amendment improves H.R. 720 by preserving the current law and 
practice of courts awarding attorneys' fees when justice requires.
  As written, H.R. 720 would change the sanctions for violation of 
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 11 to a cost-shifting sanction, 
payable to the opposing party, an antiquated version of the rule in 
effect from 1983 until 1993. That cost-shifting provision was 
eliminated by the courts because it encouraged satellite litigation.
  The Jackson Lee amendment would preserve the sanctions currently 
available under rule 11, which provide the correct balance in punishing 
unwarranted conduct--this is under the present status of rule 11--
without encouraging unnecessary litigation.
  Specifically, my amendment will strike a provision of the legislation 
that mandates the award of reasonable attorney fees and costs. Instead, 
it restores judicial discretion to award such fees and costs when 
warranted.
  Take small business A, who is mad at big bank XYZ. They mishandled my 
account, and they filed a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the bookkeeper--not 
accountant--bookkeeper that the small business used really made the 
mistake, but the judge, recognizing the small business had good 
intentions, would not have to mandatorily force them to be sanctioned 
and to pay attorneys' fees but might then have discretion. That is how 
you help small business A.
  I ask my colleagues to support the reasonable Jackson Lee amendment.
  Mr. Chair, thank you for this opportunity to explain the Jackson Lee 
Amendment to H.R. 720.
  My amendment improves H.R. 720 by preserving the current law and 
practice of courts awarding attorney fees when justice so requires.
  As written, H.R. 720 would change the sanctions for a violation of 
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 11 to a cost-shifting sanction 
payable to the opposing party, an antiquated version of the Rule in 
effect from 1983 until 1993.
  That cost-shifting provision was eliminated by the courts because it 
encouraged satellite litigation.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment would preserve the sanctions currently 
available under Rule 11, which provide the correct balance in punishing 
unwarranted conduct, without encouraging unnecessary litigation.
  Specifically, my amendment will strike a provision of the legislation 
that mandates the award of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, and 
instead restores judicial discretion to award such fees and costs when 
warranted.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment preserves the balance found in the current 
version of Rule 11, which gives the court discretion to determine an 
appropriate sanction.
  H.R. 720 seeks a return to the failed and discredited sanction regime 
rightly abandoned in 1993.
  By eliminating the mandatory fee-shifting provision, the 1993 Rule 
discouraged satellite litigation and encouraged parties to move forward 
with the merits of the case.
  Under the prior Rule 11, during the 1983-1993 time, mandatory fee-
shifting was used to discourage plaintiffs from bringing meritorious 
claims using novel legal theories in civil rights and employment rights 
cases.
  Reinstating this mandatory fee shifting rule, as H.R. 720 does, will 
again have a chilling effect on plaintiffs claims, especially 
individual plaintiffs taking on large corporate interests.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment would preserve the current version of Rule 
11(c) and restore the true balance between punishing unwarranted 
conduct and deterring unnecessary litigation.
  The old rule disproportionately affected plaintiffs, especially 
plaintiffs in civil rights cases.
  Sanctions were more often imposed against plaintiffs than defendants 
and more often imposed against plaintiffs in certain kinds of cases, 
primarily in civil rights and certain kinds of discrimination cases.
  A leading study on this issue showed that although civil rights cases 
made up 11.4% of federal cases filed, 22.7% of the cases in which 
sanctions had been imposed were civil rights cases.
  The imposition of mandatory fees and costs shifts the purpose of the 
Rule from deterrence to compensation, encouraging parties to always 
file Rule 11 motions in the hopes of gaining additional compensation.

[[Page H2032]]

  For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the 
Jackson Lee Amendment.
         Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the 
           Judicial Conference of the United States,
                                   Washington, DC, April 13, 2015.
     Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
     Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: We write to present the views of the 
     Judicial Conference Rules Committees on H.R. 758, the Lawsuit 
     Abuse Reduction Act of 2015.
       As the current chairs of the Judicial Conference's 
     Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure (the 
     ``Standing Committee'') and the Advisory Committee on the 
     Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the ``Advisory 
     Committee''), we oppose H.R. 758, which seeks to reduce 
     lawsuit abuse by amending Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of 
     Civil Procedure. The bill would reinstate a mandatory 
     sanctions provision of Rule 11 adopted in 1983 and removed as 
     counterproductive in 1993. The bill would also eliminate a 
     provision adopted in 1993 that allows a party to withdraw 
     challenged pleadings. Our concerns mirror the views expressed 
     by the Judicial Conference in 2004 and 2005, and by the 
     Standing Committee and Advisory Committee in 2011 and 2013, 
     in response to similar legislation, and reflect our ongoing 
     daily experience with the practical operation of the rules.
       We share the desire of the sponsors of H.R. 758 to improve 
     the civil justice system in our federal courts, including the 
     desire to reduce frivolous filings. But legislation that 
     would restore the 1983 version of Rule 11 would create a cure 
     worse than the problem it is meant to solve. Such legislation 
     also contravenes the longstanding Judicial Conference policy 
     opposing direct amendment of the federal rules by legislation 
     rather than through the deliberative process Congress 
     established in the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. 
     Sec. Sec. 2071-2077.
       A decade of experience with the 1983 mandatory sanctions 
     provision demonstrated that it failed to provide meaningful 
     relief from the litigation behavior it was meant to address, 
     and instead generated wasteful satellite litigation that had 
     little to do with the merits of cases. The 1983 version of 
     Rule 11 required sanctions for every violation of the rule, 
     and quickly became a tool of abuse. Aggressive filings of 
     Rule 11 sanctions motions required expenditure of tremendous 
     resources on Rule 11 battles having nothing to do with the 
     merits of the case and everything to do with strategic 
     gamesmanship. Many Rule 11 motions in turn triggered counter-
     motions seeking Rule 11 sanctions as a penalty for filing of 
     the original Rule 11 motion.
       The 1993 changes to Rule 11 followed years of examination 
     and were made on the Judicial Conference's strong 
     recommendation, with the Supreme Court's approval, and 
     effective only following a period of congressional review. 
     The 1993 amendments were designed to remedy the major 
     problems with the rule, strike a fair balance between 
     competing interests, and allow parties and courts to focus on 
     the merits of the underlying cases. Since 1993, the rule has 
     included a safe harbor, providing a party 21 days within 
     which to withdraw a particular claim or defense before 
     sanctions can be imposed. If the party fails to withdraw an 
     allegedly frivolous claim or defense within that time, a 
     court may impose sanctions, including assessing reasonable 
     attorney fees. Under the 1993 amendments, sanctioning of 
     discovery-related abuse remains available under Rules 26 and 
     37, which provide for sanctions that include awards of 
     reasonable attorney fees.
       Minimizing frivolous filings is vital. The current rules 
     give judges tools to deal with frivolous pleadings, including 
     the imposition of sanctions where warranted. Rule 12(b)(6) 
     authorizes courts to dismiss pleadings that fail to state a 
     claim. Section 1927 of Title 28 of the United States Code 
     authorizes sanctions against lawyers for ``unreasonably and 
     vexatiously'' multiplying the proceedings in any case. Other 
     tools to address frivolous filings include 28 U.S.C. 
     Sec. 1915(e), which requires courts to dismiss cases brought 
     in forma pauperis that are frivolous, malicious, or fail to 
     state a claim, and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915A, which requires 
     courts to dismiss prisoner complaints against governmental 
     entities, officers, or employees that are frivolous, 
     malicious, or fail to state a claim.
       Some may ask, why not give courts another tool to deter 
     frivolous filings by reinstating the 1983 version of Rule 11? 
     The answer is that the very process Congress established to 
     consider rule proposals exposed the 1983 version of Rule 11 
     as superficially appealing, but replete with unintended 
     consequences, chiefly an explosion of satellite litigation. 
     Congress designed the Rules Enabling Act process in 1934, and 
     reformed it in 1988, to produce the best rules possible 
     through broad public participation and review by the bench, 
     the bar, and the academy. The Enabling Act charges the 
     judiciary with the task of neutral, independent, and thorough 
     analysis of the rules and their operation. The Rules 
     Committees undertake extensive study of the rules, including 
     empirical research, so that they can propose rules that will 
     best serve the American justice system while avoiding 
     unintended consequences. Experience has shown that this 
     process works well. Direct amendment of Rule 11 will not only 
     circumvent the effective Rules Enabling Act process Congress 
     implemented, but as the careful study of Rule 11 undertaken 
     by the Rules Committees over many years demonstrates, direct 
     amendment of Rule 11 as envisioned by H.R. 758 would work 
     against the laudable purpose of improving the administration 
     of justice.
       Before proposing the 1993 amendments, the Advisory 
     Committee reviewed several empirical studies of the 1983 
     version of Rule 11, including studies conducted by the 
     Federal Judicial Center in 1985 and 1988, a Third Circuit 
     Task Force report on Rule 11 in 1989, and a New York State 
     Bar Committee report in 1987. In 1990, the Advisory Committee 
     issued a call for general comments on the rule. The response 
     was substantial and clearly called for a change. The Advisory 
     Committee concluded that Rule 11's cost-shifting provision 
     created an incentive for too many unnecessary Rule 11 
     motions. Amendments to Rule 11 were drafted by the Advisory 
     Committee and approved by the Standing Committee and Judicial 
     Conference. The Supreme Court approved the amendments and 
     transmitted them to Congress in May 1993 after extensive 
     scrutiny and debate by the bench, bar, and public in 
     accordance with the Rules Enabling Act process.
       The amended rule has produced a marked decline in Rule 11 
     satellite litigation without any noticeable increase in 
     frivolous filings. In June 1995, the Federal Judicial Center 
     conducted a survey of 1,130 lawyers and 148 judges on the 
     effects of the 1993 amendments. The Center found general 
     satisfaction with the amended rule, and that a majority of 
     the responding judges and lawyers did not favor a return to 
     mandatory sanctions when the rule is violated.
       In 2005, the Federal Judicial Center surveyed federal trial 
     judges to get a clearer picture of how the revised Rule 11 
     was operating. A copy of the study is enclosed. The study 
     showed that judges on the front lines--those who must contend 
     with frivolous litigation and apply Rule II--strongly believe 
     that the current rule works well. The study's findings 
     include the following highlights:
       More than 80 percent of the 278 district judges surveyed 
     indicated that ``Rule 11 is needed and it is just right as it 
     now stands'';
       87 percent prefer the existing Rule 11 to the 1983 version 
     or the version proposed by legislation (e.g., H.R. 4571 (the 
     Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004) or H.R. 420 (the Lawsuit 
     Abuse Reduction Act of 2005));
       85 percent strongly or moderately support Rule 11's safe 
     harbor provisions;
       91 percent oppose the proposed requirement that sanctions 
     be imposed for every Rule 11 violation;
       84 percent disagree with the proposition that an award of 
     attorney fees should be mandatory for every Rule 11 
     violation;
       85 percent believe that the amount of groundless civil 
     litigation has not grown since the promulgation of the 1993 
     rule (for judges commissioned before 1992) or since their 
     first year as a federal district judge (for judges 
     commissioned after January 1, 1992); and
       72 percent believe that addressing sanctions for discovery 
     abuse in Rules 26(g) and 37 is better than in Rule 11.
       The findings of the Federal Judicial Center underscore the 
     judiciary's united opposition to legislation amending Rule 
     11. Lawyers share this view. The American Bar Association has 
     opposed H.R. 758. Indeed, of the 200 lawyers, litigants, 
     judges, and academics who participated in the 2010 conference 
     at Duke University Law School convened by the Advisory 
     Committee to search for ways to address the problems of costs 
     and delay in civil litigation, nobody proposed a return to 
     the 1983 version of Rule 11.
       Thank you for considering the views of the Standing 
     Committee and Advisory Committee. We look forward to 
     continuing to work with you to ensure that our civil justice 
     system fulfills its vital role. If you or your staff have any 
     questions, please contact Rebecca Womeldorf, Secretary to the 
     Standing Committee.
           Sincerely,
     Jeffrey S. Sutton,
       United States Circuit Judge Sixth Circuit,Chair, Committee 
     on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
     David G. Campbell,
       United States District Judge District of Arizona, Chair, 
     Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to 
the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I oppose this amendment which would 
strike the provision for penalties for frivolous lawsuits and, thus, 
defeat the purpose of the bill.
  Today, there is no guarantee that a victim of a frivolous lawsuit 
will be compensated, even when a court finds that the lawsuit is 
frivolous. This legislation gives the victims of frivolous lawsuits the 
ability to receive compensation from those who abuse the legal system. 
The underlying bill enables innocent Americans to protect

[[Page H2033]]

themselves and their families from absolutely absurd lawsuits, which 
can cost them their reputations and their livelihoods.
  Mr. Chair, I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, reading again from the Judicial 
Conference letter, it says: The facts do not support any assumption 
that mandatory sanctions under H.R. 720--that is what the bill is 
about--deter frivolous filings. All it does, after a decade of 
experience, is that it demonstrates that it failed to provide 
meaningful relief from the litigation behavior it was supposed to 
address.
  What it will do is it will punish the small business. By eliminating 
the mandatory fee-shifting provision, the 1993 rule discouraged 
satellite litigation. Reinstating this mandatory fee-shifting rule, as 
H.R. 720 does, will again have a chilling effect.
  The Jackson Lee amendment would give the courts discretion to protect 
against the mom-and-pop business from having to pay because they 
mistakenly thought big bank XYZ did them in, and it really was a 
mistake on their part.
  Sanctions are more often imposed against plaintiffs than defendants, 
more often imposed against plaintiffs in certain kind of cases, 
primarily civil rights and certain kinds of discrimination cases.
  The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka might have been perceived 
to be outrageous--how dare you try to strike down the separate but 
equal--and yet it has had an amazing impact and a case of moment in 
history.
  Or the Loving v. Virginia, when two individuals who loved each other 
still were kept out of Virginia because they were of different races, 
it was absurd to file that lawsuit at that time. Yet, if they had not, 
or if these kinds of penalties were in place, they might be suffering 
mandatory sanctions and kept out of the courthouse.
  A leading study on this issue showed that, although civil rights 
cases make up 11.4 percent, 22.7 percent of the cases in which 
sanctions have been imposed are civil rights cases.
  Mr. Chair, I ask my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee amendment. 
In order to foster justice, support the Jackson Lee amendment, which 
restores to the courts judicial discretion on penalties and sanctions, 
if you will, and listen to the Judicial Conference: this is a curse 
worse than the problem.
  Mr. Chair, I urge support of the Jackson Lee amendment, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, let me just summarize this bill in 
one sentence, and that is that no reputable attorney is going to have 
any concerns with this legislation.
  Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas will 
be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Conyers

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 
printed in part A of House Report 115-29.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I ask that my amendment be brought forward 
at this time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Add, at the end of the bill, the following:

     SEC. 3. PROTECTING ACTIONS PERTAINING TO CONSTITUTIONAL 
                   CLAIMS OR CIVIL RIGHTS.

       Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, 
     shall be construed to apply to actions alleging any violation 
     of a right protected by the Constitution or any civil right 
     protected by law.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 180, the gentleman 
from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I am very concerned that H.R. 720 may have 
a serious, deleterious impact on the ability of individuals to protect 
their civil and constitutional rights in Federal court. This is a point 
that has been emphasized on this side ever since we have started 
examining, more carefully, H.R. 720. Accordingly, my amendment would 
simply exempt these types of cases from the bill.
  Based on a decade of experience with the 1983 version of the Federal 
Rules of Civil Procedure, we know that the civil rights cases were, in 
fact, disproportionately impacted because they often raised novel 
arguments.
  For example, a 1991 Federal Judicial Center study found that the 
incidence of rule 11 motions was ``higher in civil rights cases than in 
some other types of cases.'' Another study shows that, while civil 
rights cases comprised only 11 percent of the Federal cases filed, more 
than 22 percent of the cases in which sanctions had been imposed were, 
in fact, civil rights cases.
  The bill contains a rule of construction intended to clarify that 
``it not be construed to bar the assertion of new claims or defenses or 
remedies, including those arising under civil rights laws or the 
Constitution.''
  The inclusion of this language is an acknowledgment of the 
disproportionate impact that the 1983 rule had on civil rights cases, 
and we should applaud--and I am sure we do--its intent.
  Nevertheless, I fear this rule of construction, by itself, will not 
prevent defendants from using rule 11 as a weapon to dissuade civil 
rights plaintiffs from pursuing their claims.

                              {time}  1015

  My amendment makes an explicit exception for civil rights and 
constitutional actions. As a result, litigants will be clearly aware of 
its existence and will not be able to force opposing parties into 
satellite litigation when the case is brought under a civil rights law.
  This amendment is necessary to avoid even the possibility of a 
chilling effect that the revisions made by the bill to rule 11 could 
have on those advocating for civil rights and constitutional law 
protections. As the late Robert Carter, a former United States judge 
for the Southern District of New York, who earlier in his career 
represented one of the plaintiffs in the Brown v. Board of Education 
case, said of the 1983 version of rule 11:
  ``I have no doubt that the Supreme Court's opportunity to pronounce 
separate schools inherently unequal in Brown v. Board of Education 
would have been delayed for a decade had my colleagues and I been 
required, upon pain of potential sanctions, to plead our legal theory 
explicitly from the start.''
  For that reason alone, I urge the adoption of this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to 
the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, let me say, first of all, that the 
ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Michigan 
(Mr. Conyers), has been a champion of civil rights all of his life. I 
recognize and respect that.
  For that reason, I would like to try to reassure him that the base 
bill already says, as I mentioned in my opening statement:
  ``Nothing in this Act or an amendment made by this Act shall be 
construed to bar or impede the assertion or development of new claims, 
defenses, or remedies under Federal, State, or local laws, including 
civil rights laws, or under the Constitution of the United States.''
  This provision clearly preserves the right to assert claims under the 
civil rights laws or the Constitution. I don't know how this language 
could be more clear.
  This amendment would allow frivolous claims to be brought under civil 
rights laws without any of the penalties required in the base bill. If 
this amendment were adopted, the bill would invite the filing of 
frivolous civil rights claims without any penalty whatsoever.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, which regrettably 
would expose innocent Americans to abusive and frivolous lawsuits.

[[Page H2034]]

  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I support Representative Conyers' 
amendment.
  I include in the Record in support of our amendment a Judicial 
Conference letter dated April 13, 2015, and letters from a number of 
organizations, including the Alliance for Justice and the American 
Association for Justice.
  I also include in the Record a letter from the American Bar 
Association, who begins their message:
  ``On behalf of the American Bar Association, ABA, and its over 
400,000 members, I am writing to urge you to vote against H.R. 720, the 
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act . . . which is scheduled for a floor vote 
this week.''

     Re Groups Strongly Oppose Attacks on Civil Justice.

     Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
     Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. John Conyers, Jr.,
     Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers: On 
     February 2, the House Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled 
     to mark up several bills that collectively would make it more 
     difficult for Americans to enforce their legal rights, and 
     would place unreasonable burdens on the federal judiciary and 
     federal enforcement officials. The undersigned organizations 
     strongly oppose these bills as harmful and unnecessary.


            H.R. 720: THE LAWSUIT ABUSE REDUCTION ACT (LARA)

       LARA would make major, substantive changes to Rule 11 of 
     the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, bypassing both the 
     Judicial Conference of the United States and the U.S. Supreme 
     Court in the process. Rule 11 provides judges with authority 
     to sanction attorneys for filing frivolous claims and 
     defenses. It provides judges with discretion to decide, on a 
     case-by-case basis, if sanctions are appropriate. LARA would 
     remove this judicial discretion, mandating sanctions. LARA 
     would reinstate a rule put into effect in 1983 that was so 
     unworkable it was rescinded in 1993 after many problems and 
     nearly universal criticism. Among those problems were: the 
     rule had a chilling effect on the filing of meritorious civil 
     rights, employment, environmental, and consumer cases; the 
     rule was overused in civil rights cases as sanctions were 
     sought and imposed against civil rights plaintiffs more than 
     against any other litigants in civil court; and the rule 
     burdened the already strained federal court system with 
     satellite litigation over compliance with the rule. These 
     burdens adversely affected cases of all types, including 
     business-to-business civil litigation. Congress should be 
     looking for ways to decrease, not increase, wasteful burdens 
     on the courts, and should avoid rules changes that have a 
     discriminatory impact on civil rights, employment, 
     environmental, and consumer cases.


              H.R. 725: THE INNOCENT PARTY PROTECTION ACT

       This bill would upend long established law in the area of 
     federal court jurisdiction, specifically addressing the 
     supposed overuse of ``fraudulent joinder'' to defeat complete 
     diversity jurisdiction in a case. It was previously known as 
     the ``Fraudulent Joinder Prevention Act.'' However, this bill 
     is not about fraud. It is a corporate forum-shopping bill 
     that would allow corporations to move cases properly brought 
     in state courts into federal courts. Corporate defendants 
     support this bill because they prefer to litigate in federal 
     court, which usually results in less diverse jurors, more 
     expensive proceedings, longer wait times for trials, and 
     stricter limits on discovery. For plaintiffs, who are 
     supposed to be able to choose their forums, this legislation 
     would result in additional time, expense, and inconvenience 
     for the plaintiff and witnesses. Moreover, there is no 
     evidence that federal courts are not already properly 
     handling allegations of so-called ``fraudulent joinder'' 
     after removal under current laws. The bill would result in 
     needless micromanagement of federal courts and a waste of 
     judicial resources. While it purports to fix a non-existent 
     problem, it creates problems itself.


               H.R. 732: STOP SETTLEMENT SLUSH FUNDS ACT

       Under existing laws, settlement terms that result from 
     federal enforcement actions can sometimes include payments to 
     third parties to advance programs that assist with recovery, 
     benefits, and relief for communities harmed by lawbreakers, 
     to the extent such payments further the objectives of the 
     enforcement action. This bill would cut off any payments to 
     third parties other than individualized restitution and other 
     forms of direct payment for ``actual harm.'' That restriction 
     would handcuff federal enforcement officials by limiting 
     their ability to negotiate appropriate relief for real harms 
     caused to the public by illegal conduct that is the subject 
     of federal enforcement actions. This bill would be a gift to 
     lawbreakers at the expense of families and communities 
     suffering from injuries that cannot be addressed by direct 
     restitution.
       We urge you to oppose each of these bills. For more 
     information, please contact Joanne Doroshow at the Center for 
     Justice & Democracy or Susan Harley at Public Citizen's 
     Congress Watch.
           Very sincerely,
       Alliance for Justice, American Association for Justice, 
     Americans for Financial Reform, Asbestos Disease Awareness 
     Organization, Brazilian Worker Center, California Kids IAQ, 
     Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Justice & 
     Democracy, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Coal 
     River Mountain Watch, Comite Civico, Committee to Support the 
     Antitrust Laws, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of 
     America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.
       Daily Kos, DMV EJ Coalition Earthjustice, East Yard 
     Communities for Environmental Justice, Environmental Working 
     Group, Farmworker Association of Florida, Homeowners Against 
     Deficient Dwellings, IDARE LLC, Impact Fund, Louisiana Bucket 
     Brigade, M&M Occupational Health and Safety Services, 
     Martinez Environmental Group, National Association of 
     Consumer Advocates, National Center for Law and Economic 
     Justice, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low 
     income clients).
       National Consumers League, National Employment Lawyers 
     Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Haven 
     Legal Assistance Association, Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio 
     Valley Environmental Coalition, Oregon Environmental Council, 
     Progressive Congress Action Fund, Protect All Children's 
     Environment, Public Citizen, Public Justice Center, Public 
     Law Center, RootsAction.org, Southern Appalachia Mountain 
     Stewards, Texas Watch, The Workers' Rights Center, U.S. PIRG, 
     Western New Council on Occupational Safety and Health, 
     WisCOSH, Inc., Workplace Fairness, Worksafe.
                                  ____



                                     American Bar Association,

                                    Washington, DC, March 7, 2017.

    ABA Urges You To Oppose Passage of H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse 
                             Reduction Act

       Dear Representative: On behalf of the American Bar 
     Association (ABA) and its over 400,000 members, I am writing 
     to urge you to vote against H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse 
     Reduction Act of 2015, which is scheduled for a floor vote 
     this week.
       Even though this legislation may seem straightforward and 
     appealing on initial review, a thorough examination of the 
     concerns the bill is designed to address provides compelling 
     evidence that, rather than reducing frivolous lawsuits, H.R. 
     720 will encourage civil litigation abuse and increase court 
     costs and delays.
       H.R. 720 seeks to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of 
     Civil Procedure by rolling back critical improvements made to 
     the Rule in 1993. The legislation would reinstate a mandatory 
     sanction provision that was adopted in 1983 and eliminated a 
     decade later after experience revealed its unintended, 
     adverse consequences. It also would eliminate the ``safe 
     harbor'' provision, added in 1993, which has helped reduce 
     frivolous lawsuits by allowing parties to withdraw claims 
     within 21 days after a motion for sanctions is served.
       The ABA urges you to oppose enactment of H.R. 720 for three 
     main reasons. First, the legislation was drafted in an 
     empirical and historical vacuum without the input of the 
     judicial branch. Second, there is no demonstrated evidence 
     that the existing Rule 11 is inadequate and needs to be 
     amended. And third, by ignoring the lessons learned from ten 
     years of experience under the 1983 mandatory version of Rule 
     11, Congress incurs the substantial risk that the proposed 
     changes will harm litigants by encouraging additional 
     litigation and increasing court costs and delays.


 I. AMENDMENTS TO THE FEDERAL RULES SHOULD BE VETTED THROUGH THE RULES 
                          ENABLING ACT PROCESS

       The Rules Enabling Act was established by Congress to 
     assure that amendment of the Federal Rules occurs only after 
     a comprehensive and balanced review of the problem and 
     proposed solution is undertaken by the Judicial Conference of 
     the United States, the policy-making arm of the federal 
     judiciary, in consultation with lawyers, scholars, 
     individuals, and organizations devoted to improving the 
     administration of justice. Prior to submission to Congress, a 
     proposed amendment undergoes extensive review and public 
     comment, a process that often takes over two years and offers 
     Members assurance the proposed amendment is necessary and 
     wise.
       In stark contrast, H.R. 720 proposes to amend the Federal 
     Rules over the objections of the Judicial Conference and 
     despite compelling evidence that it will adversely affect the 
     administration of justice.


II. THERE IS NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE THAT RULE 11 IS INADEQUATE AND NEEDS 
                             TO BE AMENDED

       Proponents state that the legislation is needed to stem the 
     growth in frivolous lawsuits that, according to the written 
     statement of the National Federation of Independent Business, 
     has ``created a legal climate that hinders economic growth 
     and hurts job creation.''
       There simply is no proof that problems created by frivolous 
     lawsuits have increased since 1993 or that the current Rule 
     11 is ineffective in deterring frivolous filings. In fact, it 
     is more likely that problems have abated since 1993 because 
     Rule 11's safe harbors provision provides an incentive to 
     withdraw frivolous filings at the outset of litigation.

[[Page H2035]]

     In addition, according to Professor Danielle Kie Hart and 
     other researchers, after the current version of Rule 11 went 
     into effect, there was an increased incidence of sanctions' 
     being imposed under other sanction rules and laws, including 
     28 U.S.C. Sec. 1927, as well as pursuant to the court's 
     inherent power. Judges have numerous tools at their disposal 
     to impose sanctions and prevent frivolous lawsuits from going 
     forward.


     III. THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL RISK THAT H.R. 758 WOULD IMPEDE THE 
  ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE BY ENCOURAGING ADDITIONAL LITIGATION AND 
                   INCREASING COURT COSTS AND DELAYS

       Most importantly, there is no evidence that the proposed 
     changes to Rule 11 would deter the filing of non-meritorious 
     lawsuits. In fact, as stated earlier, past experience 
     strongly suggests that the proposed changes would encourage 
     new litigation over sanction motions, thereby increasing, not 
     reducing, court costs and delays. This is a costly and 
     completely avoidable outcome.


                             IV. CONCLUSION

       The 1983 version of Rule 11 was ill-conceived and created 
     significant unintended adverse consequences that harmed 
     litigants and impeded the administration of justice. We urge 
     you to avoid making the same mistake and to oppose passage of 
     H.R. 720.
       If you have any questions concerning the ABA's position on 
     this bill, please feel free to contact me or Denise Cardman, 
     Deputy Director of the Governmental Affairs Office.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Thomas M. Susman.

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan 
will be postponed.


                Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Jeffries

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 
printed in part A of House Report 115-29.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Add, at the end of the bill, the following:

     SEC. 3. PROTECTING ACTIONS PERTAINING TO WHISTLEBLOWERS.

       Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, 
     shall be construed to apply to actions brought by an 
     individual, or individuals, under Federal whistleblower laws, 
     Federal anti-retaliation laws, or any Federal laws which 
     protect reporting government misconduct or malfeasance.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 180, the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Jeffries) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Chairman, I thank my distinguished colleagues in 
government and the lead Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee for 
their continued leadership.
  My amendment would amend from the underlying bill all actions where 
whistleblowers allege misconduct or malfeasance in connection with the 
Federal Government. A whistleblower is defined as one who reveals 
wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it.
  Our country has long recognized the importance of affording legal 
protections to whistleblowers. Under the protection and umbrella of 
these laws, whistleblowers have helped expose corruption, government 
waste, fraud, unconstitutional practices, and abuses of the public 
trust. They have risked, in many cases, their livelihoods to do what is 
right for this country and defend our democracy.
  It should not be our objective to create barriers that will stop 
people in good faith from coming forward by subjecting them or their 
representatives to mandatory sanctions, but that is exactly what this 
bill is designed to do.
  This amendment will ensure that whistleblowers are still protected 
under current law when they bring an action through our judicial 
system. The need for this amendment is clear now more than ever.
  Donald Trump and his team appear, at times, to be paranoid about the 
information that comes out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If the 45th 
President of the United States chooses to run the White House and the 
government in the same way that he ran many of his businesses, their 
fear may be well-founded. He does not have a great track record.
  Donald Trump has been sued by the Department of Justice for violating 
Federal antidiscrimination laws, refusing to rent apartments to people 
based on their race. I note that that lawsuit in the early 1970s was 
brought by the Nixon Justice Department.
  He was forced to shut down Trump University, an apparent scam that he 
used to rip off students, swindling them out of tens of thousands of 
dollars. And he has repeatedly failed to pay his workers and 
contractors for their services--hardworking Americans.
  He created a fake charity, the Trump Foundation, which apparently has 
been used to pay for a portrait of himself and pay off fines and bills. 
He has declared bankruptcy four times in his career after losing 
billions of dollars.
  Now, as President, this is the first time that Donald Trump has had 
to act in the best interest of someone other than himself or his 
family.
  His Cabinet, however, consists of the superwealthy, many of whom are 
unfamiliar with the programs that their departments oversee and who are 
inexperienced in handling billions and billions of taxpayer dollars. 
Many others seem more concerned about helping out interests that are 
corporate in nature, not the people's interests.
  In the words of the legendary Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:
  ``Sunlight is the best of disinfectants, electric light the most 
efficient policeman.''
  Putting whistleblower protections at risk puts our democracy at risk, 
and for that reason, I urge adoption of this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Members are reminded to refrain from engaging in 
personalities toward the President.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to 
the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the Chair pointing out 
that it is improper to impugn the integrity or damage the reputation of 
the President of the United States or others. I thank the Chair for 
pointing that out.
  Mr. Chairman, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act makes three important 
changes to rule 11 to limit lawsuit abuse by imposing sanctions for 
bringing frivolous lawsuits. These changes apply to all cases brought 
in Federal district courts.
  However, this amendment would change that. If this amendment is 
adopted, the changes to rule 11 made by LARA would not apply to 
lawsuits brought in relation to whistleblower claims. There is no 
reason to make this or other exceptions.
  The changes made by the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act should apply 
uniformly throughout the Federal courts. Because this amendment 
excludes certain cases from the bill's coverage and thereby allows 
frivolous lawsuits to be filed without any of the penalties required by 
the bill, I oppose the amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Chairman, I would add that, in a democracy, the 
ability to use the Article III Federal court system is incredibly 
important as it relates to the chance for individual citizens who 
recognize that wrongdoing is taking place to do something about it and 
save taxpayers from the waste, fraud, and abuse that so many in this 
Chamber appear to often be concerned about.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, proponents of this amendment want to allow lawsuits 
with no basis in law or fact to proceed without penalty if the lawsuit 
relates to whistleblowers. Think about that. The proponents of this 
amendment support lawsuits that apparently have no basis in law or 
fact, and they want those frivolous lawsuits to proceed without 
penalty.

[[Page H2036]]

  Let me remind Members what the base bill--which is just one page 
long--actually does. It makes it mandatory for the victims of frivolous 
lawsuits filed in Federal court to be compensated for the harm done to 
them by the filers of frivolous lawsuits. The bill doesn't change the 
existing standards for determining what is or is not a frivolous 
lawsuit. So under the bill, mandatory sanctions would only be awarded 
to victims of frivolous lawsuits when those lawsuits, as determined by 
the judge, have no basis in law or fact, including cases related to 
whistleblowers that have no basis in law or fact.
  This amendment would allow legally frivolous whistleblower cases to 
go without penalty and leave their victims uncompensated, so I urge all 
of my colleagues to oppose it.
  Once again, I don't know how any reputable attorney would have any 
concerns with this legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Jeffries).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York 
will be postponed.


                    Announcement by the Acting Chair

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, proceedings 
will now resume on those amendments printed in part A of House Report 
115-29 on which further proceedings were postponed, in the following 
order:
  Amendment No. 1 by Mr. Soto of Florida.
  Amendment No. 2 by Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas.
  Amendment No. 3 by Mr. Conyers of Michigan.
  Amendment No. 4 by Mr. Jeffries of New York.
  The Chair will reduce to 2 minutes the minimum time for any 
electronic vote after the first vote in this series.


                  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Soto

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Soto) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the 
noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 181, 
noes 225, not voting 23, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 153]

                               AYES--181

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Russell
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Wasserman Schultz
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--225

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amash
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costa
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffith
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Kustoff (TN)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--23

     Banks (IN)
     Barletta
     Bishop (UT)
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Buck
     Carter (GA)
     Comstock
     Davis (CA)
     DeSaulnier
     Duffy
     Jones
     Kuster (NH)
     Langevin
     Lynch
     Moore
     O'Halleran
     Palazzo
     Richmond
     Rush
     Sinema
     Titus
     Walz
     Waters, Maxine

                              {time}  1049

  Messrs. BOST, LUETKEMEYER, BUDD, and BISHOP of Michigan changed their 
vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated for:
  Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chair, on rollcall No. 153, I was unavoidably 
detained. Had I been present, I would have voted ``Aye.''
  Stated against:
  Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Chair, I was unavoidably detained. Had I been 
present, I would have voted ``Nay'' on rollcall No. 153.
  Mr. CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Chair, I was unavoidably detained. Had I 
been present, I would have voted ``Nay'' on rollcall No. 153.


               Amendment No. 2 Offered by Ms. Jackson Lee

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Texas 
(Ms. Jackson Lee) on which further proceedings were postponed and on 
which the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.

[[Page H2037]]

  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 185, 
noes 225, not voting 19, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 154]

                               AYES--185

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Griffith
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rosen
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Russell
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--225

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costa
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Kustoff (TN)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--19

     Amash
     Barletta
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Buck
     Castro (TX)
     Davis (CA)
     Duncan (SC)
     Faso
     Gaetz
     Jones
     Kuster (NH)
     McClintock
     Moore
     Richmond
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sinema
     Titus


                    Announcement by the Acting Chair

  The Acting CHAIR (during the vote). There is 1 minute remaining.

                              {time}  1053

  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated for:
  Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Chair, I was unavoidably detained. Had I been 
present, I would have voted ``yea'' on rollcall No. 154.
  Stated against:
  Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chair, had I been present, I would have voted ``nay'' 
on rollcall No. 154.


                 Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Conyers

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan 
(Mr. Conyers) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which 
the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 190, 
noes 227, not voting 12, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 155]

                               AYES--190

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Fitzpatrick
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Griffith
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moore
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Russell
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--227

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amash
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold

[[Page H2038]]


     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Kustoff (TN)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--12

     Barletta
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Castro (TX)
     Davis (CA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Jones
     Kuster (NH)
     McClintock
     Richmond
     Rush
     Sinema
     Titus


                    Announcement by the Acting Chair

  The Acting CHAIR (during the vote). There is 1 minute remaining.

                              {time}  1058

  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.


                Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Jeffries

  The Acting CHAIR. The unfinished business is the demand for a 
recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York 
(Mr. Jeffries) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which 
the noes prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.


                             Recorded Vote

  The Acting CHAIR. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The Acting CHAIR. This will be a 2-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 189, 
noes 229, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 156]

                               AYES--189

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Fitzpatrick
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moore
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--229

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amash
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffith
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Kustoff (TN)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Russell
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Barletta
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Davis (CA)
     Johnson (GA)
     Jones
     Kuster (NH)
     Richmond
     Rush
     Sinema
     Titus
     Yoho


                    Announcement by the Acting Chair

  The Acting CHAIR (during the vote). There is 1 minute remaining.

                              {time}  1102

  Mr. DOGGETT changed his vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated against:
  Mr. YOHO. Mr. Chair, I was unavoidably detained. Had I been present, 
I would have voted ``Nay'' on rollcall No. 156.
  The Acting CHAIR. There being no further amendments, under the rule, 
the Committee rises.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Womack) having assumed the chair, Mr. Hultgren, Acting Chair of the 
Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that 
that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 720) to 
amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve 
attorney accountability, and for other purposes, and, pursuant to House 
Resolution 180, he reported the bill back to the House.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the previous question is 
ordered.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.

[[Page H2039]]

  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.


                           Motion to Recommit

  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentlewoman opposed to the bill?
  Ms. LOFGREN. I am opposed in its current form.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
recommit.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Ms. Lofgren moves to recommit the bill H.R. 720 to the 
     Committee on the Judiciary with instructions to report the 
     same back to the House forthwith with the following 
     amendment:
       Add, at the end of the bill, the following:

     SEC. 3. PROTECTING AMERICANS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENT 
                   INTERFERENCE.

       Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act may 
     be construed to apply to a civil action that implicates the 
     foreign emoluments clause of the United States Constitution.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from California is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, 
which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, 
the bill will immediately proceed to final passage, as amended.
  As has been amply discussed, the mandatory sanctions and fees in this 
bill would have a chilling effect on cutting-edge litigation. One type 
of cutting-edge litigation to suffer would be citizen lawsuits seeking 
enforcement of the foreign Emoluments Clause. The amendment proposed in 
this motion would exempt civil actions that implicate foreign 
emoluments.
  Article I, section 9, clause 8 of the Constitution says: ``No person 
holding any office of profit or trust . . . shall, without the consent 
of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of 
any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.''
  Why did the Founding Fathers write this? Concern that foreign 
governments might try to control America. They wanted to make sure that 
nothing--no gifts, no payments, no advantages of any kind--could be 
received by officers of the United States, including the President, 
unless Congress approved it. They wanted to make sure that loyalty was 
completely to America, not divided by obligations to foreign powers. So 
receipt of emoluments is a serious breach of the requirements of the 
Constitution unless Congress approves the payment.
  Congress has not voted to approve payments by foreign governments to 
our President. Some Americans are considering legal action to protect 
America from a Presidential violation of the Emoluments Clause.
  President Trump took the symbolic step of resigning from his 
businesses, but he still gets the income. Letting his family run his 
businesses doesn't solve the emoluments violations.
  Here are some of the potential problems:
  In February, China gave provisional approval for 31 new trademarks 
for The Trump Organization, which have been sought for a decade, to no 
avail, until he won the election. This is a benefit the Chinese 
Government gave to the President's business.
  At Trump Tower in New York, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of 
China's large tenant, the United Arab Emirates, leases space, and the 
Saudi mission to the U.N. makes payments. Money from these foreign 
countries goes to the President.
  The President is part owner of a New York building carrying a $950 
million loan, partially held by the Bank of China. He literally owes 
the government of China.
  The Embassy of Kuwait held its 600-guest National Day celebration at 
Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., last month, proceeds to Trump.
  The President has deals in Turkey. When he announced the Muslim ban, 
Turkey's President called for President Trump's name to be removed from 
Trump Towers Istanbul. His company is currently involved in major 
licensing deals for that property.
  Shortly after the election, the President met with former U.K. 
Independent Party leader Nigel Farage, to get help to get the view from 
his golf resorts in Scotland resolved. Both golf resorts he owns there 
are promoted by Scotland's official tourism agency.
  Foreign government-owned broadcasts in several countries air the 
President's television program ``The Apprentice,'' resulting in 
royalties and other payments from these governments.
  There may be many more business violations to the Emoluments Clause 
that are unknown due to the President's refusal to disclose his tax 
returns.
  Congress could move to approve these questionable payments and 
benefits under Article 1, section 9 to solve the constitutional 
violation, although, in my view, that would not resolve concerns about 
divided loyalties.
  But Congress has done nothing--neither enforce the clause nor 
authorize the payments. That is why patriotic citizens are returning to 
the third branch of government to defend the Constitution and the 
country.
  America has never faced this situation before, and any litigation 
will, of course, be breaking new ground and, therefore, be more 
susceptible to the mandatory rule 11 fees required by the bill.
  Citizens who seek a President free from foreign influence by bringing 
actions in court should not be penalized with the mandatory fees 
required by this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to vote for this motion to 
recommit, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the motion.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.
  Proponents of the motion to recommit want to allow lawsuits with no 
basis in law or fact to proceed without penalty in the area covered by 
their motion. Let that sink in for a moment--and just a brief moment.
  The proponents of the motion to recommit support certain lawsuits 
that apparently have no basis in law or fact. Otherwise, they have no 
relevance to this bill. If they are relevant motions, they won't have 
to worry about it. They want those frivolous lawsuits to proceed 
without penalty.
  Every time a judge decides a company made a defective product that 
ended up hurting people, damages are awarded. When a lawyer makes up a 
lawsuit that has no basis in law or fact, that lawsuit is a defective 
product. The victims harmed by that defective product should be 
compensated just like everyone else.
  Oppose this motion to recommit, pass the base bill, and let's show 
America where we stand on frivolous lawsuits and on the compensation 
rightfully owed to the victims of frivolous lawsuits.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is 
ordered on the motion to recommit.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.


                             Recorded Vote

  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, the Chair 
will reduce to 5 minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote on 
the question of passage.
  This is a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 186, 
noes 232, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 157]

                               AYES--186

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Costa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Cummings
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge

[[Page H2040]]


     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moore
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NOES--232

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amash
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffith
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Kustoff (TN)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Russell
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Barletta
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Brady (TX)
     Davis (CA)
     Jones
     Kuster (NH)
     Richmond
     Rush
     Sinema
     Titus
     Walden


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). There are 2 minutes 
remaining.

                              {time}  1118

  So the motion to recommit was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  Stated against:
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 157, I was 
unavoidably detained to cast my vote in time. Had I been present, I 
would have voted ``No.''


                          personal explanation

  Ms. KUSTER of New Hampshire. Mr. Speaker, I was unavoidably detained. 
Had I been present, I would have voted ``Yea'' on rollcall No. 153, 
``Yea'' on rollcall No. 154, ``Yea'' on rollcall No. 155, ``Yea'' on 
rollcall No. 156, and ``Yea'' on rollcall No. 157.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.


                             Recorded Vote

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. This is a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 230, 
noes 188, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 158]

                               AYES--230

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amash
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barr
     Barton
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costa
     Costello (PA)
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McSally
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Newhouse
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Peterson
     Pittenger
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                               NOES--188

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Bera
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cummings
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty
     Evans
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Gottheimer
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Griffith
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kihuen
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Kuster (NH)
     Kustoff (TN)
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch

[[Page H2041]]


     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meeks
     Meng
     Moore
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Nolan
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Peters
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Poe (TX)
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Russell
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Swalwell (CA)
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Barletta
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Brady (TX)
     Davis (CA)
     Jones
     Lawrence
     Richmond
     Rush
     Sinema
     Titus
     Walden

                              {time}  1129

  Ms. ROSEN changed her vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  Mr. MARCHANT changed his vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''
  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Stated for:
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 158, I was 
unavoidably detained to cast my vote in time. Had I been present, I 
would have voted ``Yes.''


                          Personal Explanation

  Ms. KUSTER of New Hampshire. Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 10, 2017, 
I missed the following rollcall votes to H.R. 720: number 153 the Soto 
Amendment, number 154 the Jackson-Lee amendment, number 155 the Conyers 
amendment, number 156 the Jeffries amendment, number 157 on the 
Democratic motion to recommit and number 158 on final passage. Had I 
voted, I would have voted ``Aye'' on rollcall vote 153, ``Aye on 
rollcall vote 154, ``Aye'' on rollcall vote 155, ``Aye'' on rollcall 
vote 156, ``Aye'' on rollcall vote 157 the Democratic motion to 
recommit, and ``Nay'' on rollcall vote 158 on final passage of H.R. 
720.

                          ____________________