H.R.3268 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

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Week ending September 8, 2017

H.R.3268 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Brief

Highlights:

This bill provides FY2018 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service which is included in the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

It also provides appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Farm Credit Administration.

The bill includes both discretionary and mandatory funding. The mandatory funding levels are generally set by authorizing legislation such as the farm bill and are frequently limited in the agriculture appropriations bill.

The bill decreases discretionary funding for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies below FY2017 levels.

Also included in the bill are provisions that affect policies in areas such as:

regulation of newly deemed tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and cigars,

inventory requirements for SNAP-authorized retailers,

nutrition standards for school meals, and

imports of poultry products from China.

The bill also enacts specified provisions of H.R. 238 (the Commodity End-User Relief Act), as passed by the House of Representatives on January 12, 2017.

Full Summary:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Provides FY2018 appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and related agencies.

 

TITLE I–AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for the following agricultural programs and services:

the Office of the Secretary;

Executive Operations;

the Office of the Chief Information Officer;

the Office of the Chief Financial Officer;

the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights;

the Office of Civil Rights;

Hazardous Materials Management;

the Office of Inspector General;

the Office of the General Counsel;

the Office of Ethics;

the Office of the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics;

the Economic Research Service;

the National Agricultural Statistics Service;

the Agricultural Research Service;

the National Institute of Food and Agriculture;

the Office of the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs;

the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service;

the Agricultural Marketing Service;

the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration;

the Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety; and

the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

 

TITLE II–FARM PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for:

the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation,

the Farm Service Agency,

the Risk Management Agency,

the Natural Resources Conservation Service,

the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Fund, and

the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund.

 

TITLE III–RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for Rural Development Programs including:

Rural Development Salaries and Expenses,

the Rural Housing Service,

the Rural Business–Cooperative Service,

the Rural Utilities Service, and

the Rural Economic Infrastructure Account.

 

TITLE IV–DOMESTIC FOOD PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for the Office of the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

Provides appropriations to the Food and Nutrition Service for:

Child Nutrition Programs;

the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);

the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps);

the Commodity Assistance Program; and

Nutrition Programs Administration.

 

TITLE V–FOREIGN ASSISTANCE AND RELATED PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations to the Office of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.

Provides appropriations for the Foreign Agricultural Service, including:

the Food for Peace Act (P.L. 480),

the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and

the Commodity Credit Corporation Export (loans) Credit Guarantee Program Account.

 

TITLE VI–RELATED AGENCIES AND FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

Provides appropriations to:

the Department of Health and Human Services for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and

the Farm Credit Administration.

 

TITLE VII–GENERAL PROVISIONS

(Sec. 701) Permits USDA to use funds provided by this bill for the purchase, replacement, and hire of passenger motor vehicles.

(Sec. 702) Permits USDA to transfer unobligated balances to the Working Capital Fund for the acquisition of plant and capital equipment for financial, administrative, and information technology services. Permits the transferred funds to remain available until expended and specifies restrictions on the use of the funds.

(Sec. 703) Prohibits appropriations provided by this bill from remaining available for obligation beyond the current fiscal year unless the bill expressly provides otherwise.

(Sec. 704) Limits negotiated indirect costs on cooperative agreements between USDA and nonprofit institutions to 10% of the total direct cost of the agreement when the purpose of the agreement is to carry out programs of mutual interest between the two parties.

(Sec. 705) Permits appropriations for direct and guaranteed loans to remain available until expended to disburse obligations made in the current fiscal year for: (1) the Rural Development Loan Fund program account, (2) the Rural Electrification and Telecommunication Loans program account, and (3) the Rural Housing Insurance Fund program account.

(Sec. 706) Prohibits USDA from using funds provided by this bill to acquire or upgrade information technology systems without approval of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Executive Information Technology Investment Review Board. Restricts the transfer of funds made available by this bill to the CIO without prior approval of Congress. Prohibits funds from being used for specified information technology projects without the approval of the CIO.

(Sec. 707) Permits specified funds provided under the Federal Crop Insurance Act for the Agricultural Management Assistance Program in the current fiscal year to remain available until expended to disburse obligations made in the current fiscal year.

(Sec. 708) Makes a former Rural Utility Service borrower that has repaid or prepaid a loan under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 or any not-for-profit utility qualified to receive a loan under the Act eligible for rural economic development and job creation assistance in the same manner as a borrower.

(Sec. 709) Permits specified unobligated balances of appropriations provided by this bill for salaries and expenses of the Farm Service Agency and the Rural Development mission area to remain available through FY2019 for information technology expenses.

(Sec. 710) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for first-class travel by employees of agencies funded by this bill.

(Sec. 711) Provides that Commodity Credit Corporation funds authorized or required to be used for specified programs included in the Agricultural Act of 2014: (1) shall be available for salaries and administrative expenses associated with the programs without regard to allotment and transfer limits, and (2) shall not be considered to be a fund transfer or allotment for purposes of applying the limits.

(Sec. 712) Limits funds available for USDA advisory committees, panels, commissions, and task forces, except for panels used to comply with negotiated rulemaking or to evaluate competitively awarded grants.

(Sec. 713) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to pay indirect costs charged against any agricultural research, education, or extension grant awards issued by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that exceed 30% of total federal funds provided under each award.

Permits funds provided by this bill for grants awarded competitively by NIFA to be used to pay full allowable indirect costs for specified research and development grants awarded under the Small Business Act.

 

(Sec. 714) Limits funds that may be used for the following programs:

the Watershed Rehabilitation Program;

the Rural Energy for America Program;

the Biomass Crop Assistance Program;

the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; and

the Agricultural Management Assistance Program.

 

(Sec. 715) Limits funds for the following domestic food assistance categories:

Child Nutrition Programs Entitlement Commodities,

State Option Contracts,

Removal of Defective Commodities, and

Administration of Section 32 Commodity Purchases.

 

Limits FY2018 funds for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that provides fruit and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools.

Prohibits USDA from using funds for payments authorized by Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935 to increase purchasing power of agricultural producers or for surplus removal or price support activities authorized by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

(Section 32 is a program created to assist agricultural producers of non-price-supported commodities and is funded by a permanent appropriation of a portion of the previous year’s customs receipts less certain mandatory transfers to child nutrition and other programs. This provision effectively prohibits the use of Section 32 for emergency disaster payments.)

Rescinds specified unobligated balances provided for domestic food assistance programs.

(Sec. 716) Prohibits funds from being used to prepare proposals for the President’s budget that assume savings from certain user fee proposals without identifying additional spending reductions that should occur if the proposals are not enacted.

(Sec. 717) Sets forth procedures, requirements, and restrictions for reprogramming and transferring funds provided by this bill.

(Sec. 718) Permits USDA to assess a one-time fee for any guaranteed business and industry loan and limits the fee to 3% of the guaranteed principal portion of the loan.

(Sec. 719) Prohibits funds from being used to provide reports, questions, or responses to questions that are a result of information requested for the appropriations hearing process to anyone not employed by USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or the Farm Credit Administration.

(Sec. 720) Prohibits any executive branch agency from using funds provided by this bill to produce a prepackaged news story for U.S. broadcast or distribution unless the story includes a clear notification that it was prepared or funded by the agency.

(Sec. 721) Prohibits USDA employees from being detailed or assigned from an agency funded by this bill to any other USDA agency or office for more than 60 days in a fiscal year unless the individual’s employing agency is reimbursed by the receiving agency for the salary and expenses of the employee.

(Sec. 722) Requires USDA to: (1) notify Congress at least three full business days in advance of making certain grant allocations or contract awards that are at least $1 million, and (2) submit quarterly reports to Congress detailing grant allocations or discretionary grant awards that are less than $1 million.

(Sec. 723) Directs the agencies funded by this bill to submit spending plans to Congress.

(Sec. 724) Provides that funds for title II of the Food for Peace Act may only be used to assist nations if adequate monitoring and controls exist to ensure that emergency food aid is received by the intended beneficiaries in areas affected by food shortages and not diverted for unauthorized or inappropriate purposes.

(Sec. 725) Requires USDA to establish an intermediary loan packaging program based on the FY2013 pilot program for packaging and reviewing section 502 single family direct loans. (The loan program assists low-income applicants in purchasing homes in rural areas. Funds may also be used to build, repair, or renovate a house, including providing water and sewage facilities.)

(Sec. 726) Permits USDA to increase the program level by up to 25% for certain loans and loan guarantees that do not require budget authority and have program levels established by this bill. Requires congressional notification prior to implementing any increase.

(Sec. 727) Provides that certain credit card refunds or rebates transferred to the Working Capital Fund: (1) shall not be available for obligation without congressional approval; and (2) shall only be available for the acquisition of plant and capital equipment for USDA financial, administrative, and information technology services.

(Sec. 728) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to procure raw or processed poultry products from China for the National School Lunch Program, the Child and Adult Food Care Program, the Summer Food Service Program, or the School Breakfast Program.

(Sec. 729) Permits USDA to respond to a community with inadequate drinking water supplies due to a natural disaster by providing potable water through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant Program for up to 120 days beyond the time period established in the program.

(Sec. 730) Specifies the matching requirements that apply to funds appropriated for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

(Sec. 731) Prohibits the Food and Nutrition Service from using funds provided by this bill for any new research and evaluation projects until after a research and evaluation plan is submitted to Congress.

(Sec. 732) Sets forth the authorities that apply for USDA to provide loans for housing and buildings on adequate farms.

(Sec. 733) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for regulations to allow or require information intended for a prescribing health care professional, in the case of a drug or biological product, to be distributed electronically (in lieu of in paper form) until a federal law is enacted to allow or require electronic distribution.

(Sec. 734) Prohibits the FDA from acknowledging applications for an exemption for investigational use of a drug or biological product in research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification. Provides that any submission is deemed not to have been received, and the exemption may not go into effect.

(Sec. 735) Prohibits funds from being used to carry out provisions of the final FDA rule titled “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals” with respect to certain requirements that apply to the production, distribution, sale, or receipt of dried spent grain by-products of the alcoholic beverage production process.

(Sec. 736) Requires the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to conduct audits in a manner that evaluates the following factors in the country or region being audited, as applicable:

veterinary control and oversight,

disease history and vaccination practices,

livestock demographics and traceability,

epidemiological separation from potential sources of infection,

surveillance practices,

diagnostic laboratory capabilities, and

emergency preparedness and response.

 

Requires APHIS to make reports regarding the audits publicly available.

(Sec. 737) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to issue or renew licenses under the Animal Welfare Act for certain dealers who sell dogs and cats for research, experiments, teaching, or testing.

(Sec. 738) Prohibits the FDA from deeming partially hydrogenated oils to be unsafe or any food containing a partially hydrogenated oil to be adulterated prior to June 18, 2018.

(Sec. 739) Permits USDA to charge a fee for lenders to access USDA loan guarantee systems in connection with participation in the loan guarantee programs of the Rural Housing Service.

(Sec. 740) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for a computer network unless pornography is blocked, with the exception of law enforcement, prosecution, or adjudication activities.

(Sec. 741) Rescinds specified unobligated balances from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

(Sec. 742) Prohibits funds provided for the rural water, waste water, waste disposal, and solid waste management programs authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act from being used for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public water or wastewater system unless all of the iron and steel products used in the project are produced in the United States. Specifies exceptions and waiver procedures.

(Sec. 743) Requires USDA to permit states to grant exemptions from whole grain requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program that took effect on or after July 1, 2014.

Requires states to establish a process for responding to exemption requests, provided that school food authorities demonstrate hardship in procuring whole grain products compliant with new standards and comply with whole grain standards in effect prior to July 1, 2014.

Prohibits funds from being used to implement regulations requiring a specified reduction in sodium in federally reimbursed meals, foods, and snacks sold in schools.

Requires USDA to allow states to grant special exemptions for the service of flavored, low-fat fluid milk in the School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and as a competitive food available on campus during the school day, to schools which demonstrate a reduction in student milk consumption or an increase in school milk waste.

(Sec. 744) Requires at least 10% of the funds provided by this bill for specified Rural Development programs to be allocated for assistance in persistent poverty counties. Defines a “persistent poverty county” as county that has had at least 20% of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years, as measured by the decennial censuses.

(Sec. 745) Prohibits USDA from including incarcerated prison populations to determine eligibility or the level of program assistance for Rural Development programs.

(Sec. 746) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to influence congressional action on any legislation or appropriation matters pending before Congress, other than to communicate with Congress as permitted under current law.

(Sec. 747) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from be used for the variety requirements of the final USDA rule titled “Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)” until USDA amends the definition of “variety” to increase the number of items that qualify as acceptable varieties in each staple food category so that the total number of such items in each staple food category exceeds the number of such items in each staple food category included in the final rule.

Specifies that, until the amendments are promulgated, USDA must apply the requirements regarding acceptable varieties and breadth of stock to SNAP retailers that were in effect on the day before the enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

(Sec. 748) Prohibits the FDA from using funds provided by this bill to develop, issue, promote, or advance any regulations applicable to food manufacturers for population-wide sodium reduction actions or to develop, issue, promote or advance final guidance applicable to food manufacturers for long term population-wide sodium reduction actions until the dietary reference intake report with respect to sodium is completed.

(Sec. 749) Permits USDA to receive access to certain information from federal tax returns to verify the income for individuals participating in loan programs under the Housing Act of 1949.

(Sec. 750) Rescinds specified unobligated balances of funds provided to carry out the Rural Energy Savings Program.

(Sec. 751) Prohibits funds from being used to lower the de minimis quantity of swap dealing established under the Commodity Exchange Act below $8 billion.

(Sec. 752) Prohibits the FDA from using funds provided by this bill to implement, administer, or enforce, the final “deeming rule” for tobacco products with respect to traditional large and premium cigars.

(The rule deems e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, and other products, to meet the statutory definition of “tobacco product” and to, therefore, be subject to FDA’s regulatory authority. Manufacturers of newly deemed tobacco products that are currently being marketed in the United States must file an application for premarket review with FDA.)

(Sec. 753) Prohibits the FDA from using funds to require manufacturers of e-cigarettes and other newly deemed tobacco products on the market prior to the effective date of the deeming rule from filing an application for premarket review with the FDA.

Requires the FDA to issue specified regulations regarding vapor products, including characterizing flavors and batteries. Specifies requirements for advertising, selling, and labeling of vapor products.

(Sec. 754) Prohibits USDA from using funds to finalize the proposed rule titled “Eligibility of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to Export to the United States Poultry Products from Birds Slaughtered in the PRC” unless USDA meets specified requirements, including ensuring that the poultry slaughter inspection system for the PRC is equivalent to that of the United States.

(Sec. 755) Prohibits USDA from using funds, or providing funds to the Department of Defense (DOD), to purchase, produce, or defray the costs of the purchase or production of, or develop, facilitate, expedite, or expand production of, an alternative fuel for DOD.

(Sec. 756) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for further implementation of the coastal and marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management components of the National Ocean Policy.

(Sec. 757) Provides specified funds to the FDA to carry out provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act regarding FDA Innovation Projects.

(Sec. 758) Provides additional funds to APHIS to remain available through FY2019 for one-time control and management and associated activities directly related to the multiple-agency response to citrus greening.

(Sec. 759) Provides additional funds to USDA for loans and grants that are consistent with the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and that support projects to provide access to healthy food in underserved areas, create and preserve quality jobs, and revitalize low-income communities.

(Sec. 760) Enacts section 202 (consideration by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of the costs and benefits of its regulations and orders) and section 320 (treatment of transactions between affiliates) of H.R. 238 (Commodity End-User Relief Act), as passed by the House of Representatives on January 12, 2017, with a specified technical correction.

(Sec. 761) Establishes a spending reduction account for the amount by which spending proposed in this bill exceeds the subcommittee’s allocation under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Specifies that the amount is $0. (Under the Rules of the House of Representatives, any savings included in the spending reduction account are not available for further appropriation during consideration of the bill.)

(Additional Views)

(Full text of H.R. 3268 at congress.gov)

SponsorRep. Aderholt, Robert B. [R-AL-4] (Introduced 07/17/2017)

Status:

VOTES and FLOOR ACTION

HOUSE

On Passage:

House Amendments:

Motion to recommit:

Text of the motion:

SENATE

On Passage:

Procedural Actions:

Senate Amendments:

COST AND IMPACT

Cost to the taxpayers:  Data not available

Pay-as-you-go requirements:  Data not available

Regulatory and Other Impact: Data not available

Dynamic Scoring:   Data not available

Tax Complexity:  Not applicable to this bill.

Earmark Certification:  Data not available

Duplication of programs: Data not available

Direct Rule-Making:  Data not available

Advisory Committee Statement: Data not available

Budget Authority: Data not available

Constitutional Authority:   Assumed.

 

More Bill Information:

Additional Views

VIEWS OF THE HON. NITA LOWEY AND THE HON. SANFORD D. BISHOP, JR.

 

The FY2018 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill is 5% ($1.13 billion) below the 2017 enacted level. The low allocation makes it difficult to fully meet the needs of our

nation.

First, we are appreciative of the collaborative relationship with the Chairman that allowed us to address many of our priorities in markup, such as restoring funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program to the 2017 level, providing funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, providing a $200 million increase for farm operating guaranteed loans, increasing diversity in agriculture career fields, addressing healthcare access issues in rural America, and making important improvements to language in the bill related to the importation of poultry products from China.

We are disappointed the bill does not maintain the 2017 level of $1.6 billion for Food for Peace, especially now when the need around the world is so great.

We deeply regret the Committee’s failure to adopt Rep. Roybal-Allard’s amendment to prohibit the inspection of horses for slaughter for human food. There are far better and more humane ways to deal with unwanted horses, and the past experience in this country of slaughtering horses for human food was, frankly, a disaster.

The Committee’s unprecedented and ill-advised bill language, allowing the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alone to determine if furloughs or reductions in force might result from a collective bargaining agreement and then adjust the schedule of pay and benefits any way he chooses, was also disappointing. Specifically, we are concerned this language could be expanded beyond the CFTC to employees at other financial regulatory agencies, as well as other agencies whose collective bargaining rights could be put at risk, including federal air traffic controllers.

The report states the “language is the result of numerous attempts by the Commission to impose a coercive deficiency upon Congress by threatening furloughs or RIFs.” The suggestion that the Commission or its staff threatened or misled the Committee is deeply offensive.

It should not go unnoticed that the Commission’s budget has been held at a mere $250 million since fiscal year 2015, and this bill recommends an even lower funding level. With the implementation of new enforcement tools, coupled with the expanded oversight jurisdiction, it is evident that the CFTC is severely underfunded. In order to keep pace with the technological advancements in commodity trading, we strongly urge the majority to fund this agency at the higher level it needs to achieve its mission in protecting U.S. customers.

We are disappointed that the bill included bill language locking in the swap dealer de minimis level at $8 billion. An appropriations bill is not the appropriate place to deal with this issue, and this is the fifth consecutive year in which the Committee has interjected itself into this matter.

As the legislative process continues, we will do our best to address the concerns described here. But without a larger discussion of the Federal budget it will be nearly impossible to pass an Agriculture appropriations bill for FY 2018 into law. The inadequacy of this bill’s allocation can only be fixed if Democrats and Republicans negotiate new caps for spending that do not slash the investments needed in this bill and others to grow the economy. Unfortunately, to date, Republicans are choosing to close ranks around a partisan effort to cut programs depended on by millions of Americans even though they know it will lead to another forced crisis to keep the government open. Democrats stand ready to work with Republicans on appropriations bills that invest in the American people.

 

Nita M. Lowey.

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

 

ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF THE HON. NITA M. LOWEY

 

I am very concerned with the inclusion of Section 752 and

Section 753 in the FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The

Tobacco Control Act (TCA), which passed Congress with broad

bipartisan support, provided FDA with the tools to review new

tobacco products. Since enactment, tobacco products including

e-cigarettes and flavored cigars have made significant gains in

popularity, particularly among youth.

According to the CDC, e-cigarette use among teens has risen

tenfold in the past decade, rising to 16% of teens in 2015, an

estimated three million American teens. E-Cigarettes are now

more popular among teens than traditional cigarettes.

And yet, the FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill would

put the tobacco companies in the driver’s seat, exempting so-

called premium cigars from the regulatory structure of the TCA

and allowing thousands of e-cigarette products to remain on the

market without scientific review.

I am particularly concerned by inclusion of Section 753 and

offered an amendment to strike it from the underlying bill.

Under Section 753, the predicate date for review for new

tobacco products would be delayed, allowing future tobacco

products which are substantially similar to those on the market

since 2009 to be sold to the public without FDA premarket

review. As a result, FDA would not be able to put the genie

back in the bottle, unable to regulate, or even know what is

in, e-cigarette products, forever.

In addition, new language would allow for an alternative

review process, outside of the one passed by Congress in the

TCA, which would create unnecessary delays and open the door

for even more tobacco products to come on the market without

FDA review. Under this weakened alternative, it would be harder

for FDA to address tobacco companies’ use of kid-friendly

flavors, such as Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, and approximately

7,000 other flavors. The FDA is already preparing to address

flavors and could do so much faster if this rider was not

included.

Proponents of Section 753 on the Appropriations Committee

maintain that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit based on

anecdotal evidence. However, the American Medical Association

and 12 other medical societies have determined that “currently

available data do not support the use of e-cigarette products

as a smoking cessation strategy.”\1\

—————————————————————————

\1\“Joint Letter to Congress Opposing Tobacco Riders.” American

Academy of Family Physicians, et al. 17 November 2016. http://

www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/advocacy/prevention/tobacco/LT-

Congress-Tobacco-111716.pdf.

—————————————————————————

On the date following the markup, the American Thoracic

Society (ATS) wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the

House and Senate Appropriations Committee, stating concern that

proponents of Section 753 cite the sole–and questionable–

report, by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), that suggests

vaping products support smoking cessation. The letter stated:

 

The ATS is also concerned that Congress and the

Administration will use the absence of definitive data

on e-cigarettes and the questionable findings of the

RCP report as justification for relaxing regulations on

e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products. Any such

relaxation would be a significant policy mistake and

will put the health and well-being of our nation,

particularly our youth, at needless risk.

 

Section 752 and 753 are a Trojan horse, allowing the

tobacco industry to gain an advantage so it can continue to

sell deadly products that lead to almost half a million deaths

each year.

The American people trust FDA to evaluate the data and make

unbiased decisions about product safety. Congress certainly

lacks the expertise to make such an assessment. The Fiscal Year

2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill should not politicize the

science and take aim at the FDA’s ability to regulate tobacco

products under the Tobacco Control Act.

 

Nita M. Lowey.

 

 

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