House Vote on BBB Act, Nicotine Tax Expected Today

The record for the longest speech in the US House of Representatives was broke by Kevin McCarthy early Friday morning, surpassing eight hours of continuous floor time. Towards the end of the speech, McCarthy joked that “my one minute is almost up,” noting that “personally I didn’t think I could do that long.” He then spent some time asking those around him to confirm that he had beaten the record.

The speech was centered around the vote of Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which includes a controversial tax on next-generation nicotine products.

Americans For Tax Reform (ATR) called on House legislators to accept the science as detailed in extensive reports commissioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and vote against the BBB Act (H.R. 5376) due to “its disastrous impact on public health.” H.R. 5376 is expected to be voted on today.

Credit: Dave Newman

“It is mind-boggling that in the midst of a global pandemic, Nancy Pelosi is pushing a tax hike on people trying to save their lives, just to pay for a tax-cut for the ultra rich” said Tim Andrews, director of Consumer Issues at Americans for Tax Reform. “The science is crystal clear: This bill is a public health disaster. The tax hikes on people trying to quit smoking contained in H.R. 5376 would lead to more people millions more Americans smoking – and dying as a result. “With millions of lives on the line, it’s time for Congressional Democrats to listen to the science – and reject Nancy Pelosi’s desperate SALT pay-for cash grab which seeks to raise revenue at the expense of human lives“

HR 5376 includes a new tax of $50.33 per 1,810 mg of nicotine contained in next generation electronic nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes. These funds would be used to help pay for SALT provisions for the ultra-wealthy, which the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation has stated would give two-thirds of people making more than a million dollars a tax cut, according to a ATR statement. Of the 2.5 million additional smokers the Act would create, it is estimated that two thirds – or over 1.6 million -would die as a result.

“Nancy Pelosi’s Build Back Better Act places a small amount of revenue as more important than saving over 1.5 million lives. We call upon all Democrats to follow their conscience, and do the right thing by their constituents, and vote against this deeply unethical and immoral blood tax,” said Andrews. “To increase taxes on poor Americans trying to quit smoking just to pay for tax cuts for multi-millionaires is morally reprehensible … To condemn so many lives to pay for tax breaks for multi-millionaires is one of the most morally bankrupt actions ever undertaken by a government.”