The Fiscal Year 2001 budget to be submitted by the Executive Branch of the government contains a provision whereby the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to be appropriated ten million dollars a year to police the Internet. I am vehemently opposed to my tax dollars being used to fund the FDA for this purpose. I believe that additional FDA power and funding would be used to deprive the American people of valuable health information and health products.

In the FY 2001 budget proposal, the FDA is asking Congress to pass a new law that would give the agency repressive powers that would restrict the free flow of information on the Internet. I ask that you vote against any proposed law that gives the FDA more control over what I am allowed to read and put into my body. Some of the unconstitutional authority the FDA is seeking includes:

    (1) Issuing subpoenas without a court order. Giving the FDA this new power is unconstitutional, and would create a litigation monster whose annual appetite would rapidly exceed the ten million dollars a year the agency is seeking.
    (2) Fining Internet pharmacies $500,000.00 every time they sell a drug that does not meet the FDAs definition of a legal prescription. This type of excessive fine would enable the FDA to bankrupt any online pharmacy it decides to target in a capricious and arbitrary manner.
    (3) Setting up "a rapid response team" to identify, investigate and prosecute websites, i.e., the FDA is seeking to establish an army of storm troopers to summarily shut down any website it chooses.

Please do not be misled by the FDAs attempts to convince you that they are trying to protect the health of the American people by regulating the Internet. According to the April 15, 1998 issue of the Joumal of the Ametican Medical Association, adverse reactions to legahy-prescribed FDA-approved drugs are the fourth-to-sixth leading causes of death in the United States. Since this article was published almost two years ago, the FDA has done nothing to reduce the number of Americans dying from dangerous drugs, yet the FDA now seeks ten million tax dollars a year to attack health and pharmacy websites.

If the FDA convinces Congress to grant it more power and money to attack health websites, American consumers will be denied access to innovative therapies and pay a lot more for their prescription drugs. I therefore ask that you write to me with your position on this issue so I will know how to cast my ballot this election.