A little less than a year ago, I put together a list of the best reasons Montana voters should reject Dennis Rehberg as he challenges Senator Tester. In the intervening year, little has changed—except that Representative Rehberg has become worse, authoring legislation and writing budgets that would do serious damage to Montana.
The list of reasons Rehberg doesn’t deserve to win another election in Montana is certainly reason enough reason to vote for his opponent Jon Tester, but one other piece of information bears repeating. All of these reasons to reject Rehberg are balanced by a record of no achievement. In over a decade as our Representative, Rehberg has no legislative achievement to speak of. It’s hard not to remember that his spokesman Erik Iverson, often called the incredibly insulting “Rehberg’s brain,” could only point to naming post offices when asked what Rehberg had done.
All of these reasons to reject Rehberg come from the last two years, since his last election. They don’t even touch his disrespect for Montana Indians, his calls to privatize Social Security, or even his penchant for travel misadventure, ranging from homophobic pranks to drunken horse riding.
This is the record of Representative Rehberg in just the past two years—a clear measure of a man who clearly lacks the resume, temperament, and judgment to be a U.S. Senator.
Tomorrow—why Montanans should enthusiastically support Jon Tester. Today, a litany of reasons why anyone but Dennis Rehberg should represent us.
MONTANA SPECIFIC ISSUES
- He voted against FEMA disaster relief funds just as Montana farmers and communities were facing devastating flooding across the Eastern part of the state.
- Rehberg has repeatedly questioned the work ethic of Montana farmers and ranchers.
- He voted to undermine the Clean Water Act while the Yellowstone River was filling with oil from a ruptured pipeline.
- 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.
- He voted against helping the people of Libby who have suffered for decades from asbestos-related illnesses.
- He failed to persuade his own party leadership to hold a vote on the critically important Farm Bill, leaving on vacation after “writing a letter” about the issue.
ENVIRONMENT, HUNTING AND FISHING
- He’s claimed that public land belongs to him, restricting access to hunters.
- He worked against Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Bill, not for any policy reasons, but to advance his own political agenda. Rehberg still has not proposed his own legislation on the matter.
- He pushed a provision which will double the amount of coal particulate in the environment.
- He voted to gut Social Security and Medicare.
- He wrote an ill-conceived amendment which would have ended Medicare Advantage.
- He wrote a budget that would cost Social Security $6 billion dollars a year.
- He supported a Balanced Budget Amendment which would have eviscerated the safety net for Montana’s seniors.
- 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.
- He changed his mind on the Patriot Act after supporting its implementation for almost a decade.
- He voted for reauthorization of the authoritarian FISA Courts which allows for massive electronic surveillance without a warrant.
- He voted to allow employers to require employees turn over the social media passwords as a condition of employment.
- He sponsored a bill which dramatically reduced a woman’s right to control her health and reproductive choice.
- He wrote an appropriations bill which would have defunded Planned Parenthood.
- He voted against funding for breast cancer screenings.
- Rehberg voted to allow employers to determine whether or not women had access to birth control.
- He announced that Pell Grants (which help poor and middle class students attend college) were becoming the “welfare of the 21st century.”
- He wrote language to cut Americorps, a cost effective program to improve communities and get more kids to college.
- Concerned about wasteful spending, he didn’t go after defense contractors who’ve made obscene profits in Iraq and Afghanistan, but hungry schoolchildren.
- 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.
- 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.
- He wrote language to restrict federal spending on tobacco prevention.
- He attacked a National Institutes of Health initiative designed to get drug treatments more quickly to those suffering from diseases.
- He took thousands from the tobacco industry before writing legislation restricting the FDA’s ability to control the product.
- He took money from chemical manufacturers before defunding a federal project to determine carcinogen threats from chemicals.
- He suggested that drinking in moderation and exercise would solve the health care crisis.
- 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.
- He took credit for opposing a tax on contractors—a tax he helped create and voted for five years ago.
- He called lobbyists honorable providers of advice before saying that “if he’d been smart” he would have remained one.
- While voting to cut benefits for veterans, Rehberg spent more than all but two members of Congress to lease vehicles for his personal use.
- The City of Billings spent $21,000 defending itself against Rehberg’s frivolous lawsuit against the city’s firefighters.
- He voted to allow government contractors to keep their political donations secret.
- He not only supports the Citizens United decision which has done real damage to our democratic process, but he took money from the organization.
- He tried to hide thousands of dollars in donations from lobbyists in his FEC report.
- He came out against the DISCLOSE ACT, which would have mandated transparency in our elections.