Oct. 5 2004
Washington, DC — If allowed to stand, today’s vote by the FSC/ETI conference committee against FDA authority over tobacco would be a big victory for the tobacco industry that will carry a heavy price in lives lost and kids addicted to tobacco. We urge all conference committee members who support FDA authority over tobacco to oppose the final bill unless the FDA legislation is included.
What is most astounding about today’s vote is that some tobacco-state lawmakers voted down $2 billion in additional assistance to tobacco farmers in order to defeat FDA authority over tobacco. The tobacco-state members who voted against an amendment that included this additional funding as well as FDA authority were Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sens. Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Their votes will cost tobacco farmers nearly $796 million in North Carolina, $490 million in Kentucky and $141 million in Virginia.
In the conference committee today, the Senate conferees voted 15 to 8 to support FDA authority over tobacco, while the House conferees voted 8 to 3 against it. This vote demonstrates once again the overwhelming support for the FDA legislation in the Senate. We believe it would receive similar support if it ever came to a vote in the full House. Unfortunately, this life-saving measure is being thwarted by a small minority of House leaders and tobacco-state lawmakers. If they succeed, America’s kids and health will pay a terrible price.