WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dealing a blow to the tobacco industry, the House voted Friday to let the Justice Department have the extra money it says it needs to pursue the huge federal lawsuit against cigarette-makers.
With a potential settlement worth billions of dollars at stake, the House voted 215-183 to let the Justice Department accept $12 million from other agencies to help foot the bill for the tobacco action. Without the money, Attorney General Janet Reno has said her agency would have to drop the suit, which it filed in September.
The drive to deny the extra funds for the department's legal bills was led by a coalition of Republicans and tobacco-state Democrats. Thirty-five Democrats joined 147 Republicans in voting against the money, while 55 Republicans and 159 Democrats voted for it.
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