Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) this week railed against GOP lawmakers' "self-serving move" and "life-threatening decision" to allow indoor smoking in the newly Republican-controlled House.
"In yet another self-serving move, Republicans have allowed smoking in public offices. It violates local and federal law and threatens the public health," Payne said in remarks on the floor.
Payne drew attention to the health drawbacks of indoor smoking for fellow lawmakers exposed to the dangerous smoke secondhand, but underscored Republicans' actions in light of laws against smoking.
"It is life-threatening decision that proves Republicans do not care about the health and safety of Americans. They write the laws but don't follow them," Payne said.
After the GOP took over the lower chamber majority at the start of the new Congress and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took control of the Speaker's gavel earlier this month, Republican lawmakers allowed the return of indoor smoking.
An existing ban on the practice, put in place by preceding Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was lifted with by new rules package, and lawmakers are allowed to smoke in their congressional offices.
"In the last few decades, secondhand smoke has killed more than 2.5 million Americans. It causes heart disease, lung cancer and strokes. And it's extremely dangerous to children. Local and federal laws ban smoking in public and federal buildings, and many studies have shown there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke," Payne said.
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