Tobacco Buyout Up for House Vote

Republican leaders are close to sending a tobacco-buyout bill to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a measure that would repeal a tax break for U.S. exporters, Fox News reported June 2.

Under the measure, farmers in the tobacco states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee would be paid to leave the government program that sets price and production control on U.S.-grown tobacco.

“I think this is the best opportunity politically we’ve had,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), an advocate for the buyout.

However, senior Republicans said moderates could object to combining the buyout with the tax bill.

Anti-smoking groups — which want the buyout tied to a measure authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco — are against the plan. Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids called the House proposal a “back-room deal to protect the tobacco industry while deliberately avoiding any action that would reduce the death toll from tobacco use.”

The U.S. Senate passed the tax bill last month without the tobacco buyout.