Oct. 6 2004
Washington, DC — For the second time in two days, four tobacco-state Members of Congress today voted against increasing the tobacco grower buyout by $2 billion just because the proposal also included U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over manufactured tobacco products. The four lawmakers are Reps. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Sens. Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The four lawmakers today voted against an amendment offered in the conference committee on the FSC tax bill that would have increased funding for the tobacco buyout by $2 billion and reduced the payment period from 10 years to seven years so that older growers and quota holders are more likely to benefit from the buyout. A majority of senators on the conference committee voted for the amendment, but a majority of House members did not.
The vote against this amendment cost tobacco farmers $796 million in North Carolina, $490 million in Kentucky, $163 million in Tennessee, $150 million in South Carolina, $141 million in Virginia and $134 million in Georgia.
“It is truly astounding that Representatives Burr and Goodlatte and Senators Bunning and McConnell would leave $2 billion on the table for tobacco farmers just because of their ideological zeal to defeat FDA authority over tobacco,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Tobacco farmers will pay a high price for these lawmakers’ votes against a more generous buyout, and the whole country will pay a high price in more kids addicted and more lives lost because of their opposition to FDA authority over tobacco.”