Jun. 19 2000
Washington, DC — In a setback for the House leadership and Big Tobacco, 34 House Republicans Monday joined with 163 Democrats in voting to oppose a leadership-led effort to cut off funding for the Department of Justice lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Although the House voted, 197 to 207, to defeat an amendment to delete a provision of the VA-HUD Appropriations Bill that blocks funding for the lawsuit, the close vote indicated strong bipartisan support for the lawsuit and weak support for the effort by the House leadership and the tobacco industry to kill the lawsuit. This vote demonstrates that the House leadership lacks the votes to override the threatened Presidential veto of any effort to kill the lawsuit.
Tonight's vote does not end the battle in the House of Representatives. The House will vote on this issue again later this week when it considers the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill, which also contains a provision to cut off funding for the tobacco lawsuit. The closeness of tonight's vote indicates that this is an issue that will not be resolved until the final stages of the appropriations process.