North Carolina senators fail to delay FDA tobacco regulation

McClatchy NewspapersJune 9, 2009 

WASHINGTON — As North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr paced the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, the clerk counted up the votes for his legislation to regulate tobacco someplace other than the Food and Drug Administration.

In the end, his substitute amendment — co-sponsored by North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan — lost by a 36-60 vote.

The Senate is poised to vote Wednesday on another tobacco-related bill — sweeping legislation that would allow the FDA to regulate tobacco, allowing the agency to restrict nicotine and imposing new rules on advertising.

Burr, a Republican, and Hagan, a Democrat, have worked for the past week to delay or derail the FDA regulation bill.

Their amendment would have instead created a new agency to regulate tobacco, with fewer restrictions than the underlying bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed a vote on the Burr/Hagan substitute amendment, but it was never expected to pass.

Burr, of Winston-Salem, and Hagan, of Greensboro, both hail from cities with their own tobacco companies. North Carolina is the top tobacco-growing state in the country.

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