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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 16, 1998
                      A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION 

                             November 16, 1998

Today, President Clinton will declare that the proposed state tobacco settlement is a step in the right direction and call on Congress to finish the job. The President will praise the state Attorneys General for their perseverance in this fight to hold the tobacco industry accountable for targeting children and announce that enacting national tobacco legislation to finish the job will be one of his top priorities in the next Congress. The President also will underscore the Administration's strong commitment to the FDA tobacco rule, noting that the Solicitor General has decided to seek the Supreme Court's review of the Fourth Circuit's latest decision.

Proposed State Settlement is a Step in the Right Direction

The President will make his comments on the proposed state tobacco settlement following the unveiling of the package by the state Attorneys General at the National Press Club. While the President will say the settlement is a real step in the right direction, he will say there is still a great deal left for Congress to do to ensure a substantial reduction in youth smoking.

National Tobacco Legislation will be one of the President's Top Priorities for Next Congress

The President will announce that he will push the Congress to finish the job and that enacting national tobacco legislation will be one of his top priorities for the next Congress. The American people want progress, not partisanship. They want Congress to protect children, not special interests. The new Congress has the chance to put politics aside and do what the last Congress failed to do, by acting now to prevent three million children from starting smoking and saving one million lives over the next five years.

The Solicitor General will Seek Supreme Court Review of the Fourth Circuit FDA Decision

The President will reiterate his support for the FDA tobacco rule which he unveiled in 1995 and which the tobacco industry has challenged in court ever since. Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Administration's request for a rehearing in the FDA case. Today the President will make clear that the Solicitor General has authorized the filing of a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court seeking review of the Fourth Circuit's decision in this matter. Confirming the FDA's authority over tobacco products is necessary to help stop young people from smoking before they start by stopping advertising targeted at children and curbing minors' access to tobacco products. If the leadership in Congress would act responsibly, it would enact bipartisan comprehensive tobacco legislation to confirm the FDA's authority and take this matter out of the courtroom.