Sep. 26 1997
Washington, DC - Today the House of Representatives took an important step toward reforming U.S. tobacco trade policies, approving by voice vote an amendment prohibiting government funds from being used to promote tobacco sales or exports overseas, and prohibiting U.S. efforts to weaken nondiscriminatory tobacco control laws in any country. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS commends the bipartisan House sponsors of this amendment, Representatives Lloyd Doggett, Martin Meehan, James Hansen and Diana DeGette. The amendment applies specifically to funds for the Departments of Commerce, State and Justice, but signals a broader change in congressional sentiment. Funding for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is covered by this amendment. While the Clinton Administration has voluntarily ended many of the most egregious tobacco trade practices, this amendment will write into law what is now a matter of administrative discretion. We believe this House vote signals the end of government support for the tobacco industry’s outrageous behavior overseas. No longer will government officials be allowed to serve as unofficial ambassadors of tobacco companies. No longer will the U.S. officials be allowed to undermine tobacco control laws overseas. All eyes now turn to the House-Senate conference committee to make absolutely certain that this amendment is included in the final appropriations bill. The tobacco industry must not be allowed to kill this amendment behind closed doors.