US lawmakers are refusing to allow the country's Food and Drug Administration control over tobacco manufacture and marketing.
The proposal was to be included in a $130bn (€102bn, £70bn) package of tax breaks to US companies which would have paid farmers $10bn to end a system of production quotas set up nearly seventy years ago.
The move, already approved by the Senate, was rejected Tuesday by the House of Representatives. The bill's sponsors intended the tax concessions to be linked to tobacco manufacturers' acceptance of FDA authority over manufacturing and marketing, a popular idea within the Senate, which sees it as vital to public health.
But, says Reprentative Joe L Barton (Republican, Texas): "This is not the time, this is not the bill and this is not the vehicle to regulate tobacco with the FDA."
The FDA stumbling block will now delay the passage of the bill through the Senate and prolong the agony of farm sanctions imposed by the European Uinion which the legislation was intended to alleviate.
Data sourced from Washington Times Online; additional content by WARC staff