Jun. 23 2000
Washington, DC — Today's 215 to 183 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to support the federal lawsuit against the tobacco companies is a resounding victory for the American people and a landmark defeat for Big Tobacco and its allies in Congress. This vote shows that when Big Tobacco's efforts to exercise its political muscle and win special favors are exposed to the light of day, the public interest can prevail.
While an important victory, this vote does not end the battle over funding for the lawsuit. Provisions to kill the lawsuit remain in other appropriations bills in both the House and Senate and could surface in other bills as well. We urge the Congressional leadership to heed the message of today's strong, bipartisan vote and cease all efforts on all bills to cut off funding for the federal tobacco lawsuit. The bipartisan House majority has spoken that it wants America's taxpayers to have their day in court.
For too long, the tobacco companies have bought special protection with millions of dollars in campaign contributions. For decades, they have targeted our children and deceived the public about the harm caused by their addictive and deadly products. The American people have paid a high price in disease, deaths, and health care costs, including billions of dollars paid each year by Medicare, veterans' health care, and other federal health programs. We can only hope that today's vote is the beginning of the end of special protection for Big Tobacco.