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Public Statements

Drywall Safety Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RIGELL. I thank Chairman Terry very much for yielding and my friend and colleague, the gentlelady from New York, for your support of this good bill.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Drywall Safety Act of 2012, as amended. I urge my colleagues to vote "yes'' on really what is much-needed and commonsense legislation that's going to come before the House tonight.

For nearly 4 years, families across the country have suffered from the harmful effects of defective Chinese-manufactured drywall. They're friends and neighbors, and they're families, Mr. Speaker, who worked hard and saved and really set out for that classic American Dream to own their own home or to finish their retirement years in a home, and yet that dream turned into a literal nightmare when their home was filled with a mysterious and foul rotten egg type of odor. I've been in these homes. It completely makes the home uninhabitable. It takes all the copper wiring in the home and basically turns it into black soot. They have to replace the compressors on the air conditioners. And even worse is that their health deteriorates.

They turn first to the builders. The builders are not covered by their insurance. Some were able to help out the homeowners and renovate the home on their own, but many are not able to do that, and some builders have gone out of business. They turned then to the manufacturer of the contaminated drywall in China, but really have no recourse there. It's a profoundly sad situation where Americans, through no fault of their own, are experiencing bankruptcy and terrible financial problems.

But tonight we have an opportunity to do what's right and to stand with our friends and neighbors and pass this legislation. It will hold China responsible in no uncertain terms for failing to require their manufacturers to rightly compensate Americans who have been damaged and victimized by those contaminated products.

We express the undivided sense of Congress, Republicans and Democrats working together, that we're going to make sure that China is held accountable for what they've done here. It requires labeling on all the drywall products to make sure that we can find out who's responsible for the manufacturer of each and every piece of drywall that's manufactured; it will limit the amount of sulfur in the drywall, which was the cause of all of this; and, as has been pointed out by my colleague from New York, it's a voluntary standard as opposed to just more massive government intervention. I think that's the right path to go.

So I thank my friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle for making this possible. The underlying legislation passed the House unanimously in September. The amendment that has been made, I think, is very modest. I especially want to thank my friend and colleague from Florida, Mr. Deutch, for working with me as cochair of the Chinese Drywall Caucus. I thank the chairman for yielding and for your support on this piece of legislation.

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