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New bill would raise tobacco purchasing age to 21

The unveiling of a new bill Monday, would have Congress not only raise the tobacco buying age, but would repeal some Obamacare taxes.
Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are hoping to pass is a $1.4 trillion spending bill that Republicans and Democrats are trying to push out before government funding runs out Saturday. An effort to avoid a partial government shutdown, with memories of the record breaking 35-day pause in government functions from late 2018 into early 2019 still fresh in Washington's mind, Reuters reports.  

The spending deal would repeal multiple taxes that were first generated to assist with funding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Part of these would include permanently getting rid of the "Cadillac tax," which is a 40 percent tax on generous health insurance plans. 

In the deal, there is also a mandate to change the minimum age for tobacco purchases, including cigarettes, to 21. The current federal purchasing age is 18. The FDA would have six months to develop the regulations, according to Reuters

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In the legislation is a denial of President Trump's $5 billion in funds requested to help build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, keeping the funding at $1.37 billion. There is, though, bipartisan support for various combinations of physical barriers at the border with Mexico, coupled with high-tech surveillance.

The Department of Defense would receive $22 billion more dollars in funding than last year, and the bill also includes $425 million in federal grants aimed at helping local governments prepare for the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections.