Montana Politics

25 Things Montana Voters (and Media) Should Know About Dennis Rehberg

Written by Don Pogreba
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I’ll admit that typically when I write about Montana’s sole representative in the House it’s to criticize him for not really doing anything. This year, however, no doubt inspired by his desire to moveDenny Rehberg - Caricature up an office, Rehberg has been a dynamo of activity. Unfortunately, most of it has been bad for Montana and the nation.

Back home, he’s made such poor business decisions that his net worth somehow dropped by over 50%, he’s claimed to struggle with the burden of being cash poor,  he’s pursued a failed lawsuit against the City of Billings and its firefighters, and he’s managed to get Montana’s media to ignore many of his terrible decisions in Washington.

Honestly, guys, you need to do better. When Rehberg makes national news, you need to cover it.

While I’m sure I’ve missed more than a few Rehberg actions this year, these are simply 25 Things Montana Voters Should Know About Dennis Rehberg:

  1. He voted to gut Social Security and Medicare.
  2. He co-sponsored a massive federal land grab, one which endangers hunting and fishing rights as well as private property rights. His justification for the 100 mile corridor on Montana’s border with Canada? A 2006 meeting in Hamilton, MT.
  3. He announced that Pell Grants (which help poor and middle class students attend college) were becoming the “welfare of the 21st century.”
  4. He wrote language which would have decreased the safety of our nation’s drug supply, increased dangers in the blood supply, increased lead in children’s toys, and reduced the FDA’s ability to regulate tobacco consumption. The language was so bad that the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association all attacked Rehberg’s bill.
  5. He voted against the payroll tax deduction for Montana workers, a measure that included his own amendment to speed the process for deciding the fate of the Keystone XL project.
  6. He wrote a secretive appropriations bill so lacking in transparency that even members of the committee were surprised by its content. It gutted national service programs, defunded vital reproductive health services, and aid for college students.
  7. He voted against FEMA disaster relief funds just as Montana farmers and communities were facing devastating flooding across the Eastern part of the state.
  8. He voted to undermine the Clean Water Act while the Yellowstone River was filling with oil from a ruptured pipeline.
  9. He wrote language to restrict federal spending on tobacco prevention.
  10. He’s claimed that public land belongs to him, restricting access to hunters.
  11. He worked against Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Bill, not for any policy reasons, but to advance his own political agenda. Rehbergs still has not proposed his own legislation on the matter.
  12. He pushed a provision which will double the amount of coal particulate in the environment.
  13. He has refused to work on a bipartisan solution to the Post Office mess, despite having been a part of the Republican Congress which created a big part of the problem.
  14. He wrote language to cut Americorps, a cost effective program to improve communities and get more kids to college.
  15. He took credit for opposing a tax on contractors—a tax he helped create and voted for five years ago.
  16. Concerned about wasteful spending, he didn’t go after defense contractors who’ve made obscene profits in Iraq and Afghanistan, but hungry schoolchildren.
  17. He attacked a National Institutes of Health initiative designed to get drug treatments more quickly to those suffering from diseases.
  18. He took thousands from the tobacco industry before writing legislation restricting the FDA’s ability to control the product.
  19. He sponsored a bill which dramatically reduced a woman’s right to control her health and reproductive choice.
  20. He voted to allow government contractors to keep their political donations secret.
  21. He voted against helping the people of Libby who have suffered for decades from asbestos-related illnesses.
  22. He wrote an ill-conceived amendment which would have ended Medicare Advantage.
  23. He used parliamentary procedure to block extending unemployment benefits for Montana workers.
  24. He used such inflammatory rhetoric at the Montana Legislature, threatening Judge Donald Malloy, that he received national media attention.
  25. He changed his mind on the Patriot Act again and then again.

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.

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