Snow: Lawsuits Restraining Economy

PORTLAND, Maine (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow began sharpening his message on Thursday about the need to rein in lawsuits, only days after Democrats tapped a trial lawyer to run for vice president in November's general election.

Interviewed on a local radio station in Portland at the beginning of a two-day swing through Maine and New Hampshire, Snow said so-called tort reform was moving higher on the nation's economic agenda.

"Frivolous, abusive" lawsuits restrained the nation's economic growth, Snow said. "It's become a drag on the American economy, hurts job creation and sends jobs off-shore."

Earlier this week, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry chose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, a millionaire trial lawyer who filed personal injury lawsuits before becoming a legislator, as his running mate.

Snow said the U.S. economy was currently in a broad-based recovery, which he claimed stemmed largely from the Bush administration's decision to cut taxes.

"I give a lot of credit to the Federal Reserve for good monetary policy, but without the tax cuts we wouldn't be seeing the GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates and job growth we are," he said.




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