Critical votes are scheduled this week in the U.S. Senate on proposed legislation creating a $140 billion trust fund to handle asbestos claims, with important segments of the insurance industry adamantly opposed.

However, a consensus of insurance and other industry lobbyists and congressional staffers is that momentum for the bill–S. 852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act–is growing and that it could pass the Senate as early as late this week. These officials pointed to the fact that a vote to take up the bill passed the Senate, 98-1, last Tuesday even though Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had voiced adamant opposition.

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