Today the House Appropriations Committee held a full committee mark-up to move the Agriculture Appropriations bill to the next phase of the legislative process. This bill contains important language that would exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation.
During the committee meeting, an amendment was offered by Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) to strip the language that defines premium cigars and exempts that category from FDA regulation. This amendment failed by a 14 to 34 vote.
The challenge was met with comments from Rep. Robert Aderholt, (R-AL) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-AL) who argued that the FDA did not follow congressional intent when it included cigars and that the 160 bipartisan sponsors of H.R. 662 was another reason to reject the amendment.
And as reported by The Cigar Authority yesterday, The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to include language that changes the predicate date for a new tobacco product from February 15, 2007, to the date of enactment for any new regulations. This amendment, sponsored by Reps. Cole (R-OK) and Bishop (D-GA), passed by a 31 to 19 vote.
Both provisions are critical victories for our industry and strengthen our position against FDA as we move towards the release of the deeming rule. The Agriculture Appropriations bill now moves to the floor of the U.S. House for consideration. While the U.S. Senate remains a challenge, IPCPR continues to develop a strong coalition through our educational advocacy efforts.