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FDA Tobacco Regulation Bid Fails

WASHINGTON -- House and Senate negotiators defeated an effort Tuesday to have the Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco products, reported the Associated Press.

The proposal was part of a corporate tax bill that would provide $130 billion in new tax breaks to businesses. House negotiators rejected the idea, which had been included in a Senate version of the tax bill introduced in the conference committee trying to blend the two bills to go before the House and Senate for passage.

The Senate had linked tobacco regulation to legislation that would pay tobacco producers about $10 billion to give up their government quotas that determine how much of the crop they can produce.

Senate supporters of FDA regulation were expected to make an attempt today to strip the buyout provision from the compromise bill before it comes up for approval by the conference committee.

After a day of debate in which House Republicans were able to defeat all but two minor amendments offered by the Senate to the overall tax package, supporters of the bill expressed confidence that the committee will wrap up its work today and report out a completed bill that can be taken up in the House on Thursday and the Senate probably on Friday.

But Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the defeat of the FDA provision may prompt efforts to stage a filibuster to delay Senate passage of the measure until after Friday, the day lawmakers were hoping to adjourn to hit the campaign trail.
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