"This bill," said Payne, "is in direct response to the proposed rule that the FDA announced last month" (E&P, Aug. 19, p. 12).
Payne stressed that his legislation, H.R. 2283, is not designed to stymie efforts to curb smoking by youths, but rather "bars the FDA from proceeding with any regulations governing the sale or marketing of tobacco products."
"Prohibiting the FDA from moving forward with these proposed regulations is not only consistent with existing law, [but also] it will send an important message to every other agency that attempts to issue regulations without express authority from Congress," Payne said.
He also pointed out that previous attempts to achieve the same ends through Congress have been defeated repeatedly.
"Unable to achieve victory in the halls of Congress, tobacco's opponents are now relying on the administrative powers of the executive branch to assert this new and potentially far-reaching authority over tobacco," he charged.
"Tobacco's opponents may celebrate the administration's action on tobacco right now, but they may rue the day when they allowed the executive branch to establish such a precedent," Payne added.
The congressman also called on the FDA "to reorder its priorities and focus on those issues which Congress has charged it with."
The representative of more than 5,000 tobacco growers, Payne said his constituents "don't want children to smoke."
"All they want is for Washington to treat them fairly," he said.
By: Debra Gersh Hernandez REP. L.F. PAYNE Jr. (D-Va.) has introduced legislation to prohibit the Food and Drug Administration from regulating the sale or use of tobacco products.