Sources: White House can't back tobacco deal unless ...
FDA gets more control over nicotineJuly 8, 1997
Web posted at: 10:03 p.m. EDT (0203 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton won't support a proposed tobacco settlement with antismoking activists, unless the industry agrees to stricter federal regulation of nicotine, CNN has learned.
According to Clinton administration sources, White House officials have asked tobacco industry lawyers to schedule talks aimed at renegotiating language in the draft agreement dealing with Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco and cigarettes.
Cigarette companies and state attorneys general reached the proposed $368 billion settlement last month. The tentative agreement needs congressional and presidential approval.
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration is siding with public health advocates by agreeing that the settlement language doesn't give the FDA enough power. They want the agency to regulate tobacco as a drug, and be able to limit the nicotine levels in cigarettes.
Highlights of the deal
According to the sources, White House domestic policy adviser Bruce Reed and deputy White House counsel Bruce Reed have been in touch with industry officials in recent days to voice their concerns and try to reopen the talks. So far, industry lawyers are reluctant to do so.
The administration's message to tobacco companies represents a dramatic early move in its monthlong review of the proposed settlement.
Congressional leaders have said they will wait until the White House has finished its review before deciding how to proceed. The White House objections could jeopardize the deal that was reached after arduous negotiations, although the administrative sources say that isn't the intent.
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