On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, the White House Office of Management and Budget
Director Mick Mulvaney was on Capitol Hill testifying before the House Budget Committee on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
During the course of the hearing, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) raised the issue of premium cigars and FDA regulation with Director Mulvaney.
In his questioning of Director Mulvaney, Congressman Diaz-Balart cited the pending release of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”) by FDA and how OMB planned on ensuring “appropriate cost-benefit and regulatory flexibility analysis.”
In a candid response, Director Mulvaney stated that “we have absolute confidence the FDA is going to apply the Administration’s sort of new standard when it comes to cost-benefit analysis that we are actually going to do them and we will actually have science and numbers behind them as opposed to the qualitative type analysis that was done by the previous administration. I’ve learned a great deal about cost-benefit analysis over the last 13 months and been extraordinarily disappointed in what passed for a cost-benefit analysis under the previous administration. I think one of the things you can count on with Director Gottleib at the FDA is a much more rational approach to the process and when it comes to OIRA, our job is to make sure that is exactly what has happened we are sort of the policy police and regulatory police to make sure the folks follow the rules at the various agencies. We don’t supplement our view for theirs, we just make sure they have gone about it in the proper process.”
The response by Director Mulvaney on the topic was a welcome sign that he is committed to a fair and equitable regulatory process and that the Administration has been paying close attention to the issues concerning the premium cigar industry.
Glynn Loope, Executive Director of Cigar Rights of America (CRA), stated last week in regards to the hearing that “CRA and our industry allies look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Administration and congressional advocates for the premium handmade cigar industry. Messages conveyed such as that by Congressman Diaz-Balart yesterday and over the course of the last several years have worked to tell the unique artisan message of premium cigars, and recent actions by the Administration and regulators have proven that this message is being heard.”