Yarmuth claimed he doesn’t know who insinuated the vaping tax amendment to the bill
John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Chair of the House Budget Committee is under investigation for allegedly helping tobacco interests by imposing a tax on vaping. This is after the House eliminated another tax on cigarettes in its Build Back Better spending program.
Critics claim Yarmuth is imposing additional costs on the vaping industry. This is a competitive market that also includes tobacco. However, Yarmuth believes vaping can benefit the public’s health as an alternative to smoking. These taxes are also highly regressive because they tend to be disproportionately affected by low-income Americans.
The “Yarmuth Amendment”, a 2,000-page bill, was passed with a $50.33 fee per 1,180 mg of nicotine. The tax will apply to nicotine synthesized, extracted, or manufactured. Cigarettes traditionally contain nicotine organically added in tobacco.
According to the Louisville Courier Journal another provision in an earlier draft had twice the rate for cigarettes and cigars, and raised “the taxes on chewing tobacco products over 17 times,” but this tax was removed from the final version.
Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., and Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union were both against the cigarette tax. Beshear warned tobacco farmers and businesses that they could lose millions of dollars due to the tax.
The American Vapor Manufacturers (AVM), commenting on Yarmuth Amendment, told FOX Business that “He gets huge donations from tobacco producers in his states and he removed the tax on cigarettes form the final version.”
Yarmuth stated this week that he has no idea who inserted the amendment in the bill. This was in an exclusive interview with FOX business. “I was the manager but it was another member of the committee who filed that amendment. I learned about it later.” He said that the directive to do it was given by leadership.
Yarmuth stated that the tax was solely a public health issue. The vaping companies were taxed in order to make vaping more difficult for children and to increase the nicotine tax for vaping products. This is the same as the nicotine tax cigarettes companies pay.
“We weren’t protecting the tobacco industry. The Democratic Caucus does not love tobacco companies.
Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, is the Budget Ranking Member. He also serves on House Ways and Means Committee. Smith said Yarmuth’s reply was “ridiculous” and indicated that Yarmuth was being irresponsible.
Smith stated, “His name appears on this legislation.” Smith said that Smith would have no idea what was in the legislation, particularly one that would have such a negative impact on working-class families. It’s irresponsible and a classic example of what Washington is all about.
Smith also criticised House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) for “his whole career wanting to be the chairman at Ways and Means only for his chairmanship to be hijacked and his bill to be rewritten and rewritten” Her committee chairs are basically powerless.”
Open Secrets claims that Yarmuth received $1,500 from BCTGW between 2017-2018. According to Open Secrets, Yarmuth also received $1,000 from tobacco companies in 2019-2020. The Kentucky congressman was previously recognized as having purchased cannabis stocks before he announced a bill to legalize marijuana.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, defended the tax by stating that it “implies that both the nicotine in traditional tobacco products as well as the nicotine in electronic cigarettes is taxed at equal rates.”
Henry Connelly, D-Calif., spoke for Pelosi. He said that, unlike the gas tax increase Republicans added to the infrastructure bill, vaping was not essential for working families and there is substantial evidence that tobacco companies target teens with health-damaging vapes.
AVM responded by accusing Yarmuth and Pelosi of creating a “public-health disaster.”
“Speaker Pelosi has erred on the math and science, and appears to have not read the government’s estimates of the public health catastrophe this vape tax will cause,” stated President Amanda Wheeler. Wheeler also cited research funded by the National Institutes of Health, which calculated that the tax would lead to “approximately a quarter million more teenage smokers.”
FOX Business was referred by Yarmuth’s Office to the House Ways and Means Committee. FOX Business requested comment from a contact for the Democrats of the House.
Ted Trimpa, a Democratic strategist representing vaping interests, stated that the tax was a play on Big Tobacco. He said it would destroy the vaping industry because it cannot absorb the same taxation as the tobacco industry.
“Democrats know they have to increase revenue, and they look to nicotine. Sometimes nicotine is just defined as smoking and vaping becomes the new state actor. Trimpa spoke of the political influence that tobacco has on politics.
He said it was ironic that people who are trying to quit smoking are also the ones you are actually hurting.
Tim Andrews, American for Tax Reform’s director of consumer issues, said that the vaping tax was a terrible idea for public health because so many people vape in order to quit smoking.
Andrews stated that raising taxes on products many low-income Americans use “is a terrible idea.” “Because it’s a tax to the poor, I think Democrats realized this would be an extremely unpopular decision, which would be blamed by the public. So they removed the nicotine tax for cigarettes and retained the vaping tax because it is a young industry with limited power. Not as many Americans vape as cigarettes, and might not notice.