Your government at work, part two

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Halliburton Co. on Friday said it expects to delay the bankruptcies of two units until the third quarter, a move that could enable the company to pay less money than expected to settle asbestos lawsuits under a proposed U.S. Congressional bill.

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A reduced payout would result from U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch’s efforts to pass asbestos legislation to set up a $108 billion trust fund to pay asbestos injury claims over the next 25 years to 30 years.

The legislation, intended to stop a flood of asbestos-related lawsuits that studies say could end up costing more than $200 billion, could very well scuttle existing settlements, like Halliburton’s, that are still being negotiated.