One of the early themes of the 2012 Senate race between Representative Rehberg and Senator Tester was the level of support each has shown in his career when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment. While Rehberg seemed only able to muster a family member (and not any votes) to demonstrate his commitment to fighting the disease, he’s unquestionably the leader of the Montana delegation when it comes to promoting carcinogens.
The American Chemistry Council first got its pals in Congress to order a $1 million follow-up study on formaldehyde and styrene. Then it demanded, through a provision drafted by Representative Denny Rehberg, a Montana Republican, that no money be spent on another Report on Carcinogens until the follow-up was completed — meaning a four-year delay until the next report. Stay tuned for an industry effort to slip some such provision into the next budget legislation.
Let’s be clear. There is uncertainty about toxic chemicals, and it is perfectly legitimate to criticize the Report on Carcinogens. But this effort to defund the report is an insult to science and democracy alike.
Kristof’s story isn’t new. It broke in the national news back in August, thanks to the reporting of Mother Jones.
Rehberg’s failure in the war against cancer isn’t new, either. In 2011, the American Cancer Society condemned his proposed amendment which would have immunized “the tobacco industry against many FDA regulations preventing them from making tobacco more addictive and marketing it to children.”
And we all remember Rehberg voting to cut screening for breast cancer.
Now, as I often note, I am not a reporter, but it seems that simply the fact that the New York Times, the Economist, Mother Jones, and the American Cancer Society have criticized our sole Representative for his wrong-headed moves in the fight against cancer warrants some news coverage. Perhaps the press might need to pull someone off covering a political rally with fewer than 50 attendees to do the story, but I think the Montana electorate needs to know what Rehberg thinks about cancer more than they need to know what Chris Christie thinks of Jon Tester.