Montana Politics

Reading is Fundamental, Representative Rehberg


For someone who spent as much time as he did making political hay about whether or not Senator Baucus had read the health care reform bill, Representative Rehberg seems not to have much time reading proposals he champions. Today, on the Flint Report (substitute host), Representative Rehberg made it clear that he just hadn’t gotten around to reading Representative Ryan’s budget proposal-the one that will devastate seniors and the entire retirement system.

If you’ll excuse my 7 minute iMove construction, you can listen to Representative Rehberg’s remarks here.

Of course, this is nothing new for Representative Rehberg, who seems much more interested in posting Facebook updates than doing the work of a member of Congress. It’s hard to forget that he told the Independent Record that he hadn’t even bothered to read the debt commission report, which could well be a roadmap for future budgets:

The person who really should read it is Rep. Denny Rehberg. Rehberg, who was just named chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds Medicare, among other programs, told Independent Record reporter Sanjay Talwani last week that he hasn’t read the report, which was released on Dec. 1.

That’s an astonishing admission from a representative who trots out to great fanfare a balanced budget bill every time Congress meets and who now chairs a panel responsible for almost a quarter of all federal outlays. And it’s not like we’re braying about a 2,100-page piece of dense legislation that “He didn’t even read the bill!” This is a comparatively modest document, written in easy-to-understand language, that would make good reading for anyone concerned with the state of the country’s finances.

Perhaps Representative Rehberg might give some thought to campaigning just a bit less and governing just a bit more.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


  • As to the debt commission report, I believe Obama put it in his pocket and is not giving it the time of day. Perhaps he should read it and show some leadership on its recommendations.

    As to Ryan’s budget proposal, that impacts 2012, Congress hasn’t finished the 2011 budget yet. Don, you fail to point out the necessity for focused attention to urgency and sequence. Also, unlike Ryan’s proposal which has a vision of the future, Senator hasn’t clue on reshaping future budgets and addressing the deficit:

      • Craig, you certainly can’t say that Tester “hasn’t (a) clue on reshaping future budgets and addressing the deficit” based on that 15 second sound bite. How disingenuous!

        And I thought Tester gave a decent and, yes, political response. It was an ambush question. I liked the fact that he referred to all Montanans as willing to make some sacrifices.

        • Disingenous???? How does my response differ from the substance, tone, rhetorical hyberpole and tenor of the root post?

          As to the Ryan proposal, Tester is quoting as saying that it is “a good place to start.”

          Meanwhile Rehberg is quoting as saying about the Ryan proposal, “”A fresh set of ideas were brought to the table today. Some are good, and some will need to be improved, but they’re out there in the open for anyone to see and debate. This budget is a starting point, not a final product,”

          Now to refer to Don’s phrasing, “…Representative Ryan’s budget proposal-the one that will devastate seniors and the entire retirement system.”

          Funny, no condemnation from Don for Tester saying the Ryan proposal is “a good place to start.” So Pete, you are right. Tester does know the starting point for reshaping future budgets– the Ryan proposal. My bad.

    • Any idiot can have a vision for the future. Ryan’s is just disastrously stupid.
      By the way, how did Rehberg issue a quote praising Ryan’s proposal on April 6th, given that he hadn’t read it yet?

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