The legislation would prohibit frivolous lawsuits based on obesity-related claims. 80 Democrats joined all but one Republican in voting for the bill. Attention now turns to the Senate where Sen. Mitch McConnell has introduced companion legislation, S. 908.
"The strong vote in the House today sends the message that trial lawyers cannot turn the obesity issue into their next big payday," said Mark Allen, president and ceo.
In the past few years, a number of lawsuits have sought damages for health-related claims due to obesity. However, according to experts, obesity is a complex issue caused by a variety of factors that differ for each individual. H.R. 554 is a federal version of legislation that has already been adopted by 21 states. A recent Gallup poll has shown that nearly 90% of Americans oppose these lawsuits.
"With an additional 30 members of Congress supporting the bill this year, there is strong momentum for this legislation," said David French, senior vice president of Government Relations. "We look forward to working with Senator McConnell to pass his bill through the Senate and enact it into law."
The vote on H.R. 554 was included in IFDA's annual vote ratings that are the basis for the food distribution industry's Thomas Jefferson Award, which is presented to Members of Congress whose voting records demonstrate consistent support for the industry's legislative agenda, the association added.