American Lung Association Urges the U.S. Senate to Reject H.R. 367 and H.R. 1582

Legislation would block efforts to improve public health and to save lives

Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (August 2, 2013)

“This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills, H.R. 367 and H.R. 1582 that would block efforts by public health scientists who are working to set life-saving standards for clean air and tobacco control. If either of these bills became law they would have dire consequences for all Americans, especially our nation’s children.

“H.R. 367 would grind to a halt important public health protections being developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the air we breathe and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect children from the dangers of tobacco use. Under this bill, efforts to protect our health by EPA and FDA could be delayed indefinitely by political interference and redundant review processes, leaving agencies unable implement laws already passed by Congress and making safeguards contingent on yet another vote of approval by both houses of Congress. Congress should support, not impede, public health scientists from following the law and protecting our health.

“H.R. 1582 will strip away the fundamental promise of the Clean Air Act for all who live in America today – the right to breathe air without harmful pollution known to trigger costly illnesses and even cut short lives. If it becomes law, H.R. 1582 would require yet another review and approval – this time by the U.S. Department of Energy – before public health safeguards advanced by the EPA could be approved. Creating redundant layers of bureaucracy would put unnecessary roadblocks in the way of life-saving actions needed to protect the public from dangerous air pollution. H.R. 1582 would have sweeping impacts on the health of millions of Americans across the country.

“The Clean Air Act has a proven track record of success. As long as Congress does not interfere, it is estimated that 230,000 premature deaths will be avoided in 2020 and medical visits that drive up health care costs for Americans already struggling to get by in a weak economy will be lowered. To throw it all away now at the behest of special interests that spend millions on lawyers and lobbyists to continue to pollute, rather than investing in cleaning up outdated and dangerous equipment, is outrageous. America’s children can’t afford to wait any longer for clean air.

“The Tobacco Control Act, which passed on a bipartisan basis in 2009, is already paying health dividends. FDA has implemented regulations to curb the marketing and sales of tobacco to children and is working with states and local governments to enforce the law that prohibits the sale of tobacco to children. FDA has implemented rules to outlaw candy- and fruit-flavored cigarettes, as well as misleading brand descriptors including light, low and mild. Over the months and years ahead, FDA will follow the roadmap laid out by Congress to move forward to protect public health. As it implements the law, FDA is backstopping the efforts of parents and health professionals across the country to prevent tobacco use.

“The President’s senior advisors recognize how much these bills would damage the health of our nation and rightly recommend a veto on both H. R. 1582 and H.R. 367. It is clear that the Senate must do what the House failed to do; reject these dangerous, life-threatening bills and stand up for the health of our children.”

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.