Johnson, Hunter tag team VP-Elect Pence to overturn FDA e-cig regulations

In a letter to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence on Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) joined forces to urge an immediate overturn of the FDA e-cig regulations.  The rule took effect in August of 2015 and requires products released prior to February 2007 to undergo a very complicated and costly application process.

Both politicians have a long history as pro-vaping advocates.  Johnson as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has written numerous letters to FDA commissioner Robert Califf only to be ceremoniously rebuked time and time again.  Hunter has earned the affectionate nickname “The Vaping Congressman” by many in the vaping community for his theatrical use of an electronic cigarette during a congressional hearing last year on airplane vaping.

Johnson and Hunter pull no punches

After a brief congratulatory message to Mike Pence on the 2016 Election, the Johnson-Hunter letter calls the FDA deeming regulations “an example of a burdensome rule that could eliminate an entire emerging industry.”

“The FDA’s regulation, which went into effect in August, requires e-cigarette manufactures to complete costly and time-consuming applications in order to get federal approval to sell e-cigarette products.  These applications could cost e-cigarette manufacturers—most of which are small businesses—more than $1 million per product, according to some estimates. Many e-cigarette manufacturers cannot afford this expensive application process, and it is likely that this regulation will force most of them to shut down.”

To further illustrate their point, the letter goes on to offer a real-life example of a Wisconsin e-liquid vendor who will be financially devastated should the Obama-induced ruling be go into effect in its current state.

“Christian Berkey, the Chief Executive Officer of an e-liquid company located in Hartland, Wisconsin, is one of many innovators and job-creators whose business will be affected by this burdensome regulation.  Mr. Berkey has told the Committee that the effect of this rule on the e-cigarette industry would be ‘catastrophic.’ If the FDA’s overreach goes unchecked, then thousands of jobs and small businesses will disappear.”

In light of Donald Trump’s recent dealings with the Carrier Company in Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana, perhaps Sen. Johnson and Rep. Hunter are using the Berkey connection to put a public face on a very controversial issue.   The letter also goes on to place the blame for the “regulatory overreach” squarely on the shoulders of the Obama Administration.

“To reign in the regulatory overreach of the Obama administration, it is necessary to consider all appropriate executive and legislative options to ease the burdens on job creators and innovators.”

Sen. Ron Johnson made other news earlier this month when he publicly announced that the FDA should immediately repeal the deeming regulations of their own accord, warning that the Trump Administration is highly likely to overturn the rule after Inauguration Day.  Since Johnson’s threat appears to have gone unnoticed by FDA officials, he and Rep. Duncan Hunter are kicking things up a notch be going straight to the nation’s future Vice President. The Johnson-Duncan letter in its entirety can be found online.

Article Credit: Matt Rowland

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