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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 20, 2000


I am very pleased that the House of Representatives reversed its position in favor of tobacco companies and today passed an amendment to advance public health by siding with American veterans and taxpayers.

The House decision today to reconsider its support of tobacco companies clears the path for the Veterans Administration to help support tobacco litigation, which could mean billions of dollars to improve veterans medical care. I applaud the perseverance of a bipartisan group, led by Rep. Henry Waxman, Rep. Lane Evans, Rep. Jim Hansen, Rep. Martin Meehan, Rep. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. David Obey, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett whose efforts in past days have resulted in this significant victory.

In the coming days and weeks, there will be other attempts by Congress to block the federal government's tobacco litigation with riders supported by tobacco companies. This bipartisan victory should be a model for Congress. The legal responsibility of the tobacco companies should be decided in the courts by the judicial process. I call upon Congress to reject the interests of big tobacco and permit justice to run its course.