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It’s a Rehberg Kind of Friday: Hurting Kids, Suing Firefighters, and Not Doing Anything for Montanans Who Need Help

It’s rare that a politician has a day like Representative Rehberg did today: one that absolutely defines his legacy as a member of the House and encapsulates all the reasons he should be retired to his subdivision.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a press release explaining how Rehberg is undermining public health efforts to protection children:

“The FDA’s ability to regulate tobacco products, dangerous drugs, and unsafe foods is essential for the overall well-being of children and the American public. The amendment, introduced by Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT) during consideration of the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, limits existing FDA authority to assure the safety of the food and drug supply, prevents the overuse of antibiotics in livestock, and weakens the agency’s ability to protect young people from dangerous tobacco products.

“If this provision becomes law, it would be virtually impossible for the FDA to stop tobacco companies from adding ingredients that attract children, prevent unsafe food and drugs from entering this country, or stop antibiotic-resistant bacteria from causing human illnesses.

The Billings Gazette explained how Rehberg is still trying to shake down the people of Billings and its Fire Department for failing to protect his scrub land:

Rehberg said in an interview Thursday that his wife runs the business and decided to file the lawsuit because the city would not extend the deadline for an insurance claim for the 1,200 scorched acres. He said the lawsuit is not against firefighters as his opponents claim, but rather challenges the decisions of city managers.
“It was never intended to be anything more than trying to protect her business, our business,” Rehberg said. “We are not blaming the firefighters in any way, shape or form.”

Finally, Rehberg’’s own office aptly illustrated just how ineffective the Congressman is when it comes to actually serving the people of Montana. With thousands of Montanans facing devastating losses to their livelihoods and homes, Rehberg’s office had the audacity to issue a press release trumpeting his bold move to encourage the Secretary of Agriculture to extend the time available to file paperwork for crop insurance:

The Committee encourages the Secretary to work with producers who could not file the necessary paperwork within the designated time period for the Crop Insurance program due to flooding and other natural disasters in Presidentially declared disaster areas.

Perhaps Rehberg should wait to actually do something before issuing a press release.

Elections are often choices between candidates flawed in multiple ways, but there is no douvt that Representative Rehberg is about as flawed as they come—a hypocrite who actively does harm to Montanans. We can’t afford to give him even more influence, no matter how ineffectively he wields what he has now.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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