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.
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.