Rehberg declares war on the middle class

Nice guest editorial in today’s Gazette on the minimum wage pointing out the gulf between the Republican-controlled Congress and…well…you and me.

The editorial notes that Congress has recently voted itself a pay raise of $3,300 while effectively striking down a hike in the federal minimum wage:

The House refused to block the $3,300 "cost-of-living adjustment" that will raise congressional pay on Jan. 1 to $168,500 — not counting great health benefits, pensions and perks.

Congressional pay raises between 1997 and 2007 will add up to $34,900. That's more than average workers make in a year.

It would take more than three workers to make $34,900 at the minimum wage stuck at $5.15 an hour — just $10,712 a year — since Sept. 1, 1997.

Essentially the hike was killed in the Senate, where Montana’s junior Senator voted to deny the pay raise. The House hasn’t voted on a wage hike, and probably won’t, but it did pass the House Appropriations Committee, which was a surprise, because it’s controlled by the GOP. Some procedural mess and swift politicking will keep the proposal from a House vote until after the election, but at least the issue arose. In order for it to pass the committee, several Republican Congressmen had to vote in favor of the hike:

Seven Appropriations panel Republicans voted with Democrats to approve the wage hike on a 32-27 vote: John Sweeney and Jim Walsh of New York, Ray LaHood of Illinois, Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania, Bill Young of Florida, and Mike Simpson of Idaho.

Please notice that one particular name is missing from this list, Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg, who sits on the Appropriations Committee. That’s because he voted against a minimum wage hike.

Knowing that Rehberg voted himself a raise while voting down a minimum wage hike, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Rehberg is an enemy of the middle class. According to a Drum Major Institute (DMI) report, Rehberg has voted consistently against the interests of the bulk of his electorate. The report explains that Congressmen were graded on their support or opposition to legislation that benefits ordinary Americans.

Congress championed the wish lists of oil companies, the insurance industry, and credit card issuers over the concerns of middle-class consumers and small businesses, while making it harder for ordinary citizens to hold corporate wrong-doers accountable. 2005 was the year of the energy bill that ignored the skyrocketing fuel prices burdening the middle class while providing massive tax breaks for profitable energy corporations. It was the year that credit card issuers finally won bankruptcy legislation, squeezing more money from families so overwhelmed by job loss, medical bills and family break-ups that they could not cope with the debt. It was another year when the House passed a bill raising health care premiums for small businesses while allowing insurers to offer health plans with fewer benefits. And to top it off, it was a year when Congress put new obstacles in the path of ordinary citizens trying to hold corporations accountable for defective products, deceptive marketing or unfair employment practices through class action lawsuits.

Rehberg scored an “F” on the report card, voting against the middle class at nearly every opportunity.

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  1. Jordan

    How does this guy sleep at night? Honestly?

  2. Punky

    Hey Bro,
    Don’t you miss us out here on the coast? At least our state gov. is trying something.

    “The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously backed a plan to raise the state’s minimum hourly wage by $1.50 over the next two years. The minimum wage is currently $6.75 an hour.

    Under the plan, the wage would increase to $7.50 per hour in September and $8.25 in 2007.

    Starting in 2008, future hikes in the minimum wage would be automatically linked to increases in the rate of inflation. The plan also guarantees Massachusetts’ minimum wage will always be at least 10 cents higher than the federal minimum.”

    Wishing you the best out there – without your backwards politics, you wouldn’t have anything to blog about… or would you?

  3. Oh, great. Now you’ve outed me as a Massachusetts Democrat! What next, you’ll tell them I’m on Uncle Ted’s payroll? Er…I mean Mr. Senator Kennedy’s payroll…heh…

  4. BTW fearless readers, “Punky” is my sister.

  1. 1 Meet the Western Democratic candidates « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Rehberg is a real winner. Not only has he supported Bush at every turn, he received a failing grade from the Drum Major Institute for his votes affecting the middle class, he voted against the minimum wage the same week he gave himself a pay raise, wants to eliminate the estate tax, and opposes Net Neutrality. […]

  2. 2 Is Liane Pronounced Lyin’? A Pathetic Defense of Dennis Rehberg’s Record — Intelligent Discontent

    […] yes. Unfortunately, her comments ignores the fact that Rehberg voted himself raise and against the minimum wage in 2006, voted it against it in 2007, specifically criticized the idea of increasing the minimum […]

  3. 3 Top Ten Signs Denny Rehberg is “Struggling” Because of Economic Hardship | Intelligent Discontent

    […] claims not to remember the minimum wage, so he doesn’t have to pay it to his employees. Oh, and he keeps voting against it, […]




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