For much of his career, it’s been easy to dismiss Dennis Rehberg nothing more than a political opportunist willing to change his ideology and political rhetoric as the ground underneath him shifts. In the past 15 months or so, he’s tried to change his tack, from being the undisputed King of Washington pork barrel spending to some kind of fierce critic of government spending.
During that time, it’s been easy to just dismiss this “conversion” as nothing more than cynical, hypocritical political posturing typical of Rehberg’s career. After all, his only constant passion has been self-promotion and hucksterism, with his constituents—the people of Montana just an afterthought. Today, however, this cynical opportunism and naked disregard for the people of our state became abundantly clear.
Today, in a House Appropriations Committee meeting, Rehberg voted against restoring FEMA funds for local and state disaster relief, as flood waters are rising across the state, endangering lives, livelihoods, and property. These are no insignificant cuts, as The Hill notes:
The second amendment restores cuts to FEMA state and local programs as well as the firefighter program.
The current bill cuts Federal Emergency Management Agency State and Local programs to 55 percent below the enacted FY2011 level, and 70 percent below the FY2010 level
At the same time, Rehberg sent out staffers to offer empty promises to affected families, as the Great Falls Tribune reports:
U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., sent staff members to impacted regions to report to federal officials in Washington, D.C., the damage and offered assistance to the governor and county leaders across the state.
Montanans who are watching creeks and rivers rise don’t need empty words and press releases; they need real assistance—to reduce damage in the short term and to assist in recovery in the long term.
Hypocrisy and naked political maneuvering are bad enough. When those decisions have a real impact on the lives of Montanan families, Representative Rehberg has demonstrated that he is far more interested in appealing to the TEA Party fringe than representing the people of this state.