Conferees who will try to hammer out a compromise between proposed House and Senate bills based on HR 4520, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, have been named.
HR 4520 is primarily a business tax bill, but contains provisions for a buyout of the federal tobacco program. One of the key differences to be debated in Committee will be whether the Food and Drug Administration will be given authority to regulate tobacco. The House version of the bill says no to FDA regulation while the Senate version would require it.
"We are closer to securing a buyout than ever before but we cannot celebrate yet," says North Carolina Farm Bureau president Larry Wooten. "The conference committee has a lot of work to do. It is my hope the conference will work quickly to advance the bill to the House and Senate floors for a final vote."
Republicans Richard Burr of N.C.'s 5th District and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia's 6th District are on the House Committee.
From the Senate side, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning are both Republicans from Kentucky who have been appointed to the conference committee.
Retiring Democrat Sen. Bob Graham of Florida was also appointed to the committee.
These are the only tobacco state members on the 41-member conference. Other key members, however, include Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass), who has authored an amendment to the legislation that, if accepted, would bar a tobacco quota buyout.
For more information on HR 4520 click HERE.