It is unknown if the Hunter Bill has much support in Congress. Even if Rep. Hunter gets the necessary backing to eventually get his bill through the House, approval by the closely divided Senate would be difficult. In order to engineer the rewrite of a major law like the TCA, the bill would almost certainly need the backing of some Democrats.
While no vaper would argue against the need for rewriting the TCA, there is fear among advocates that the Hunter Bill could distract vapers and vendors from the Cole-Bishop language (or HR 1136 in its standalone form), which could be added as a rider to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (and included in an omnibus budget bill) this week.
If the Cole-Bishop language is not included in the budget bill — which is easily the vaping industry’s best chance to etch out a somewhat certain future — we will be back to square one, fighting to get something (something even more difficult and complicated!) all the way through Congress.
Vaping360 spoke with representatives of several major vaping consumer and trade organizations, and they were unanimous in their belief that right now Cole-Bishop must be the main focus. If we cannot get the predicate date in the deeming regulations modernized to allow existing products to remain on the market, businesses will begin closing in large numbers. A bill that takes a year or more to pass will not prevent a mass exodus of small- and medium-sized businesses from the market.
That said, no one dismisses the Hunter Bill outright. “We have to start [to fix the TCA] somewhere,” I was told by two different prominent advocates. But both emphasized that the predicate date change must come first. Some think Rep. Hunter understands that, others are less certain.