The Washington Letter
|May 10, 2013|
1150 18th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
EPA Administrator Appointee Stalls in Senate Committee
The appointment of Gina McCarthy as the EPA Administrator has hit a road block in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Republican members of the committee boycotted the committee vote, preventing committee quorum and effectively stopping appointee McCarthy from moving forward.
Republicans said they stopped the nomination process because President Obama and the EPA have failed to be transparent in their policy making and have further failed to release scientific data that the EPA uses to establish policy. Democrats counter that appointee McCarthy has responded to more than 1,000 questions submitted by committee members, more than the 157 questions from Administrator Lisa Jackson and the 230 questions that Administrator Stephen Johnson responded to.
A similar battle between Senate Republicans and Democrats is brewing over President Obama’s nominee for the Secretary of Labor. At this point, it is unclear how and when the Senate will overcome the impasse over the appointees.
Cigar Bill Support Growing the House
Legislation that would exempt “premium and traditional” cigars from Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate is gaining support in the House of Representatives. Currently 77 members of Congress have cosponsored the bill – H.R. 792. Parallel legislation has been introduced in the Senate – S. 772 – and has 6 cosponsors.
If enacted, the legislation would prevent the FDA from taking any steps to regulate the exempted cigars, effectively preventing ingredient disclosure, warning labels, regulation of health claims, candy flavoring and advertising restrictions. The exemption established by this legislation includes both hand-rolled and machine-made cigars. Bill supporters estimate the legislation, if enacted, would exempt 220 million to 300 million U.S.-made cigars each year.
The ATS strongly opposes this legislation and is actively lobbying members of Congress to stop this bill from moving forward.
The Washington Letter is written by the American Thoracic Society government relations office and emailed to all ATS members living in the United States. The letter keeps clinicians, scientists, and patients abreast of legislative, judicial, and regulatory issues in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Each week's edition is archived on the ATS Web site, www.thoracic.org. If you have any questions or want more information about becoming involved in advocacy, please contact the ATS Washington office at 202-296-9770.