Lucas Opposes H.R. 1256 which Calls for FDA to Regulate Tobacco and Tobacco Products

Apr 1, 2009

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas issued the following statement in opposition to H.R. 1256.

“I am appalled at the blatant disregard for the public policy process. What kind of trick is being played out on the American people when half of H.R. 1256—the half that pays for FDA legislation—comes on suspension of the rules. And, the other half of H.R. 1256, the part that burdens American companies with more taxes and regulation comes under a closed rule?

“This bill gives FDA broad statutory authority to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, advertising, promotion, sale, and use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. And, it will ultimately result in FDA being on the farm micromanaging farmers.

“FDA has clearly proven it is severely overburdened with its current authority. Just look to the recent examples of salmonella found in peanut and pistachio products. Why would we give a huge new expansion of authority to an agency that has proven it can’t handle the load it has? Can you honestly tell the American people to have confidence in the FDA to protect them?

“How will this new authority be paid for? New taxes, of course. The bill taxes companies and importers to pay for the cost of regulation. The bill sets the amount of the assessments each year, which increases to $712 million per year.

“Also, this bill calls for using funds from the Thrift Savings Plan. Do we really want to use the savings portion of the bill to pay for more Washington bureaucracy?" Tobacco producers, small convenience stores, and tobacco warehousemen, which are the backbone of commerce across poor and rural districts, will be put out of business under this bill.

“And, farmers should be aware that this means FDA will come directly on your farm and tell you how to operate. Producers will bear the brunt of this legislation. FDA will tell producers what type of seeds they can plant, the methods in which they cultivate those seeds, the records they must keep and on and on and on. I oppose H.R. 1256,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote on H.R. 1256 tomorrow.