July 15,2004

Chairman Grassley comments on tobacco buyout, FDA regulation and the international tax bill


TO: Reporters and Editors
RE: FDA amendment
DA: Thursday, July 15, 2004

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, issued the following comment regarding the proposal combining a federal tobacco buyout and FDA regulation of cigarettes.

“Consideration of this amendment makes it possible for us to get to work on reconciling differences between Senate and House versions of the international tax bill. The tax bill is a must-pass piece of legislation. It makes sure that the United States meets its international trade commitments, helps save and create manufacturing jobs in the United States, and closes corporate tax loopholes with important reforms.

"If tobacco legislation is to be part of a final conference agreement, the members ofCongress pushing the tobacco issues must figure out how to pay for their proposals. Thebudgetary offsets that are part of the JOBS bill are not available. And, they must make their finalproposal non-controversial so that the tobacco issue does not in any way jeopardize final actionby Congress this year on the tax bill, which 92 senators voted for in May.

"As far as the amendment on the floor today, tobacco remains a real threat to publichealth, and that’s especially true for children’s health. While I don't embrace the specifics of thetobacco buyout, the FDA part of the proposal empowers both the federal government and statesto do more to prevent young people from ever starting to smoke."