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Hansen targets tobacco

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I was surprised to read Attorney General Jan Graham's comments about the recent failure of the U.S. Senate to pass the McCain tobacco legislation (Graham rebukes legislators after tobacco bill's death, June 20).

By exclaiming "Congress just blew it," Graham is forgetting the bicameral nature of our national legislature. "All legislative powers . . . shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 1) Therefore, the Senate blew it by not approving tobacco legislation. The House of Representatives hasn't even debated tobacco legislation yet.This is a sensitive point with me, because I know how hard Rep. James V. Hansen and 100 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives have worked to create a tough, bipartisan tobacco bill. The Hansen bill is so tough, demanding that the tobacco industry achieve an 80 percent reduction in youth smoking rates over 10 years or face stiff penalties, that it makes the McCain bill look like it was written by tobacco industry lobbyists. Needless to say, the Hansen bill is much tougher than anything Graham supports.

If Graham was serious when she said, "This fight is not about money," then I invite her to remember the House of the people and to work with Jim Hansen, Merrill Cook and Chris Cannon to pass HR3868 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Brian Williams

Legislative assistant to Rep. James V. Hansen

Washington, D.C.