Montana Politics

Representative Rehberg Goes To Bat for Big Tobacco Again

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Just when you think Representative Rehberg can’t make a worse decision as a member ofjoe-camel Congress, he leaps to the challenge. Of late, it seems that his poor judgment extends to protecting the tobacco industry.

The latest? Writing language which would prohibit federal expenditures on anti-tobacco campaigns:

Congress also put the kibosh the use of federal dollars to fund so-called anti-obesity and “nutrition” campaigns, which demonize certain food products like soft drinks and fruit juice. (See “NACS Opposes Attacks on C-Store Products” in the November NACS Magazine.) President Obama could sign the bill into law by week’s end.

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, authored the language, which essentially bans government-funded campaigns against legally sold products and goods, including tobacco. The language states: “The prohibitions…shall include any activity to advocate or promote any proposed, pending or future federal, state or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product, including its sale or marketing…”

Working against public health and for the interest of Big Tobacco is nothing new for Representative Rehberg. In June, he wrote an amendment making it easier for the tobacco industry to hook kids on their product:

The House Appropriations Committee voted to approve an amendment introduced by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Montana) that would immunize the tobacco industry against U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules stopping them from making cigarettes more addictive and marketing them to children.

The last time I checked, Montana farmers don’t produce a lot of tobacco. I wonder if all that money tobacco companies shower on Rehberg’s committee might influence his decision making.

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.

30 Comments

      • “I wonder if all that money tobacco companies shower on Rehberg’s committee might influence his decision making.”

        Seems to me that you’re saying that only tobacco companies shouldn’t be able to influence our representatives.

  • I’ll believe this is a real issue when Tester introduces legislation to ban tobacco in the interests of protecting children and the public welfare. Alternatively, Tester could propose banning smokers from Obamacare insurance benefits.

    • Is there anything Rehberg would do you wouldn’t try to justify?

      He’s written two amendments in the past six months, each of which, if passed, will make it easier to market cigarettes to children.

      I know that you’ve decided to reflexively either defend his actions or try to divert attention away from them, but would you be willing to concede, just once, that he’s not acting in the best interests of his constituents?

    • Hey, and guess who didn’t write two amendments specifically benefiting their interests?

      I’m impressed that you can use Google–just not so impressed with the argument.

      Tester has received $12,500 from tobacco in total, one of the lowest totals in the Senate. Rehberg? $64,500–one of the highest totals in the House.

      Next.

      • Let’s take this full circle then.

        What ’bout Tester’s swipe fees amendment and the the bundles of cash from VISA?

        Oh I forgot, this is all about the children.

        • Cute rhetorical strategy to switch topics once you’ve been shown to be incredibly wrong. I imagine you’re used to using it.

          Do some reading about why Montana banks supported Tester’s efforts and try again.

          • No, that was intent of my original comment.

            You see Don no matter how you spin it politicians take money for favors. Jon does it, Denny does it, Max does it our state reps do it. Plain and simple.

            Your motive is just as simple. By tarring Denny with “pay for play” tobacco money you inferring that your boy is above the fray.

            Not true. Judging by past practices Jon has cashed tobacco checks. Could you prove that he would turn down Denny’s position if given the same opportunity? Not hardly.

            Nice try again Don. No one’s rising to the fly.

            • I think when your opponent in a debate has to resort to imagining counter-factual, hypothetical wrongs to defend the person he’s trying to defend, it’s reached the point when nothing positive can come from it.

              Rehberg has voted to weaken health and educational standards that reduce tobacco use. Senator Tester has not.

              It seems like a pretty clear distinction to me, your efforts to divert attention away from Rehberg’s actions notwithstading.

              Rationalize away. It’s all you’ve got.

  • Pogie, I see a pattern in your posts –

    If Denny opposes spending government money, you think it’s wrong –

    I’ve got a newsflash for you brainiac – the government is broke, and borrowing $140,000,000 per hour to keep functioning. Anything that Denny does to curtail government spending is not only commendable, but necessary.

    In 2013. after Denny takes Jon Testers spot in Washington I hope he continues his good work.

    • You and Denny supported two wars which have cost the United States $1.29 trillion dollars and supported a tax break which has cost the Treasury at least twice as much, and you have the audacity to lecture anyone about responsible spending and governance?

      Try harder.

  • Pogie, you miss the entire point. It’s all about FREEEEEDUMB, dude! Yes, that’s right. Kids are free not to smoke, and BIG TOBACCO is free to spend GAZILLIONS to get them to smoke! See how it works? Dopey Reeburp is simply upholding the longstanding Pubbie rightwing belief that it all comes down to FREEEDUMB! No regs means NO REGS! And no REGrets! Oh sure, the weak will die off, but the market will ajust for the losses. Those who remain will be stronger! More robust. More bullish! Call it a market correction! And really, when one thinks about it, aren’t the kids of this country the equals of BIG TOBACCO? Well sure they are! This is Murca! We’ve got the smartest kids on the planet! WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE!

    Whew! I get all tingly when the free market moves me! Think I’ll go have a nice movement right now in the ol’ crapper!

    But hey, it’s all about Murca too. Dopey Reeburp LUVS Murca! You see, when ciggies were basically outlawed in this country, BIG TOBACCO had to market overseas to third world countries to make up for the loss. Dopey wants to bring all them ciggies back to Murca where they belong, thereby helping OUR economy and saving all OUR jobs for Murcans! And ‘sides, we are fast approaching third world status ANYway. So Dopey’s ideas are a natural fit! Dopey just cares too much bout Murca and Murcans. That’s his problem.

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