On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee debated their version of the Fiscal Year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations Bill and eliminated premium cigar language. This Bill is the sister bill to the U.S. House of Representatives Bill H.R. 5054: H.R. 5054: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 covered in our prior Blog Post. The Senate Bill, S. 2956: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, is based on the House Bill but eliminates the verbiage that defunds any Food and Drug Administration attempts to “finalize, implement, or enforce” FDA rules on premium cigars.” The Senate Appropriations Committee issued a report to the full Senate recommending that the Bill be considered further.
In short, this sucks. Hopefully, the House will wrestle the Senate to the floor, give them a noogie, and persuade them to add the premium cigar language back in. According to GovTrack.us, the Senate Bill has a 40% chance of being enacted.
The House Bill has the following premium cigar language that is not in the Senate Bill:
“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the proposed rule with the regulation identifier number 0910–AG38 published by the Food and Drug Administration in the Federal Register on April 25, 2014 (79 Fed. Reg. 23142) if such rule would apply to traditional large and premium cigars. For the purposes of this section, the term traditional large and premium cigar means—