Rehberg the Bold Changes His Mind Again


Normally, it takes Representative Rehberg years and a changing political climate to change his mind on ill-conceived ideas (like supporting the Patriot Act, opposing SCHIP, opposing the minimum wage, spending like a drunken sailor, supporting REAL ID, to name a few), but his latest episode of waffle-making was historic in its rapidity.

Tonight, Representative Rehberg struck his own language restricting the power of the FDA:

Lance’s warning was made in the context of a decision to strike language in the agriculture appropriations bill. That bill contained language from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) that would require a “hard science” justification for the beef regulation and other rules.

Rehberg’s language was seen as controversial, and even Rehberg himself agreed to remove the language from the bill. To make that happen, he worked with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who asked the Rules Committee to leave the language open to a point of order.

I’d like to think that the opposition of the American Cancer Society, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Heart Association, and a half-dozen other health organizations led to change, but given Rehberg’s total lack of policy understanding and compassion, it’s just as likely that he forgot which way he voted on a language HE HIMSELF WROTE less than ten days ago.

Maybe all that national media attention had something to do with it. It certainly wasn’t because anyone back home was holding him accountable.

Update: The Louisville Courier-Journal (you know, where Montanans turn for news) has an update that describes Rehberg perfectly:

At issue was an amendment, previously inserted by Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., that would have required the federal Food and Drug Administration to base its decisions on “hard science.”
Rehberg, who used to raise goats, said his language was aimed at the FDA’s regulation of animal drugs.
But Democrats and public health advocates said Rehberg’s proposal would have hindered the FDA’s ability to prevent the tobacco industry from putting ingredients in their products that might appeal to children.
Rehberg’s language was stripped out on the House floor on Wednesday on a procedural move. There was no recorded vote.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-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.


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  • Seems like you are auditioning to write satire for the Onion.  But I digress.

    I read your The Hill link.  Looks like Rehberg has not given up on his attempt to hold the FDA accountable but saw the political realities for his amendment.  Perhaps Tester should have done the same thing with his amendment to protect his Wall Street contributor “fat cats,” as Obama is quoted as defining them.  IF he had, he wouldn’t be standing today with egg dripping from his face.

    I give kudos for Tester standing against moving the animal disease research lab to Kansas:     Seems like he gets the concept that certain Fed agencies should have some sort of “hard science” criteria to stop the political nonsense. 

  • Political realities? Didn’t the GOP majority on the committee vote for the Rehberg amendment? I’m pretty sure they still control the House. 

    Maybe his colleagues realized that this was yet another poorly written effort from the Congressman.

  • If by “procedural issue” you mean that Rehberg was inappropriately trying to slap this nonsensical gift to the tobacco industry on an appropriations bill without hearings, yes, that is true as well.

  • As much as I enjoy your new strategy which is to change the question after you ask it, I preferred the character you were playing the other day. The leftist hippy organic farmer was at least interesting. This deliberate obtuseness is just not worth my time.

  • Reading is fundamental, Craig.

    Did you notice this part of your link?

    Additionally, an informed source said the House Rules Committee may knock out the amendment before it can be taken up on the House floor on the basis that it legislates on an appropriations bill.

    Or from this source? House over the next two days is expected to hear successful points of order against four controversial sections of the FY 2012 agriculture appropriations bill that key House Republicans believe violate the House rule against legislating on an appropriations bill.

    These provisions, already embedded in the bill, are expected to be stripped through points of order even though three of the four were put forward by Republicans during committee work.

    The first of the four sections at issue has been the most controversial, as it represents a Republican attempt to limit Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Section 740 would prevent funding in the bill from being used to enforce FDA regulations unless they are based on “hard science.”

    The amendment, from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), has been widely criticized by the FDA and others as something that would inappropriately limit the ability of FDA to ensure consumer safety. This led Rehberg to reconsider it, and he ultimately came around to support efforts to strike the language.

    I can explain it for you, if you like. Stick to googling health sites about the FDA. You’re really good at that.

    • As to your question, absolutely, none of which had anything to do with tobacco.   By the way you fail to mention that both Rehberg and Tester voted the same way on granting the FDA regulatory powers over tobacco. 

      IF the best you got is snide remarks aimed at me, then your pockets are quite empty.

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