This week, Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–continued to push the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act,” which, they insist, “seeks to exempt premium cigars from excessive and overly burdensome U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and fees.”

Rubio introduced the bill this week with Scott’s support. During the decade he has been in the U.S. Senate, Rubio has championed the bill, backing former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s, D-Fla., proposal before becoming the sponsor after Scott defeated that Democrat back in 2018.

“The premium cigar industry is an iconic staple in Florida’s economy,” Rubio said. “For far too long, small and family-owned businesses have been facing the threat of regulation that could force many to close their shops. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that would provide Florida premium cigar makers the certainty they need to continue their craft, and I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this bill.”

“From Tampa’s Ybor City to Miami’s Little Havana, handcrafted cigars have been an important part of Florida’s cultural heritage for more than 150 years,” said Drew Newman, from J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in Tampa, a fourth-generation cigar maker. “Today, Florida’s historic premium cigar industry supports thousands of jobs, from farmers to cigar rollers to retailers. We are tremendously grateful to Sen. Rubio for his continued leadership and advocacy in support of small, family businesses in Florida.”

Other backers of the proposal are Republican U.S. Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jim Inhofe of Wyoming and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. So far, there is no companion measure in the U.S. House.


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