Sen. Joe Manchin, opposes the bill over concerns about inflation and national debt. He believes that Democrats should focus their efforts on containing the coronavirus pandemic as the highly-mutated omicron variant spreads around the country. Moreover, he cited concerns about low-income parents using a proposed child tax credit in the bill, to purchase drugs. “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t,” Manchin told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they will now proceed to vote on a revised version of the proposed bill. “Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every Member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television,” he wrote to Democrats on Monday. “We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act – and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”
Negative repercussions on smokers
Meanwhile, a new report by economist John Dunham & Associates sadly indicated that if passed the proposed vape tax will have negative repercussions on smokers, the industry and the economy. Titled, “The Negative Economic Impacts of the New Nicotine Tax Imposed Only on Vapor Products In the Reconciliation Bill,” the report was recently released by the Vapor Technology Association (VTA).
In line with arguments by other experts, the document said that not only would the proposed tax lead to cigarettes being less expensive than e-cigarettes, hence making it easier for former smokers to switch back to smoking. But also, almost 43,000 jobs would be lost if the tax contained in the Build Back Better bill (HR 5376) is approved.
“Our analysis finds that the bill would not create anything close to parity with cigarette taxes but, rather, would tax vapor products at a much higher rate – up to nine times higher – than the tax on a pack of cigarettes,” explained Dunham. “As a result, consumers will be forced to choose between paying “a net price increase on vapor products at retail of about 53 percent (21.2 percent for a standard two-pack of pods and 73.5% for a standard 60 milliliter bottle of e-liquid), while the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products would remain unchanged as they would not be subject to any additional federal tax.”
VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud, added that amongst other things, the issue of raising a tax that will affect people who are trying to quit smoking is also a moral one. “You cannot ‘Build Back Better’ on the backs of smokers desperately trying to quit smoking and workers desperately looking for jobs. Imposing a new nicotine vape tax nine times higher than the tax on a pack of cigarettes is a morally and economically bankrupt idea and the U.S. Senate must strip it out of the bill.”
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