Word for Word: Howard Coble
“I rise, Madame Speaker, in opposition to the proposed tax increase as a source of funding for the S-CHIP program. Tobacco is lawfully grown, marketed and consumed. And tobacco manufacturers and growers, Madame Speaker, employ ten thousand citizens in my district. Strike that – in my state, hundreds in my district. These manufactures and growers, small and large, provide well-paying jobs and make valuable contributions to their communities.
“At one time, Madame Speaker, tobacco was king. Now it is a beleaguered industry. Yet it remains a convenient whipping boy regarding the raising of revenue in this body. When S-CHIP was authorized and debated a decade ago I did not support it because of the potential to become one more entitlement program that would, in time, cost more than what it was projected. It has, Madame Speaker, surpassed my apprehension in cost and scope. Today the [Congressional Budget Office] projects that this expansion would cost nearly $87 billion over the next five years.
“This has led to the proposal that billions of dollars be cut from Medicare providers such as hospitals and healthcare services, coupled with the increase in the tobacco tax to finance this expansion. I cannot condone such an abuse of taxpayers for a program would take from a group of vulnerable citizens to expand services to citizens in many instances who are less vulnerable.”
– US Rep. Howard Coble, who represents North Carolina’s 6th district, speaking on the US House floor on Aug. 1 in opposition to raising taxes on tobacco to help preserve the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides healthcare coverage to uninsured children across the nation.