Earlier today the US House of Representatives passed a 12 bill spending package that includes a provision prohibiting the FDA from enforcing regulations against premium cigars. The bill, known as an omnibus appropriations package, passed the House by 211-198 votes and will now move to the Senate for consideration. Congress has until December 8th to pass spending legislation and fund the federal government.
So what does this mean?
Section 752 of the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill would prevent FDA from enforcing Deeming Rule regulations on premium cigars (as defined in other legislation). The exemption would only last for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1st – September 30th 2018).
The Senate and House must both agree to the same legislation and pass a bill by December 8th for the provision to take effect According to Ken Neumann, IPCPR President, yesterday’s vote represents the first time a bill passed by a chamber of Congress contains language related to premium cigar exemption. “This is a monumental step for the industry and for IPCPR’s retailers. For many years we’ve been pushing the ball forward in our efforts to roll back the FDA’s oversized and ill-suited regulatory regime on premium cigars. Because of this work and because there are Members of Congress like Congressmen Bob Aderholt, Bill Posey and Congresswoman Kathy Castor who fight every day for small businesses and the premium cigar retailers across the country, we’re now on the precipice of bringing true relief to our industry.”
IPCPR will continue to engage with Congress and the Administration as the appropriations process proceeds over the course of the next three months. We look forward to securing relief for our retailers and engaging with the industry along the way.