Incumbent Congressman Dennis Rehberg sent out this survey recently. Are gas prices too high? Should DC impose a mileage tax?
The only reason to poll these questions is simply if you have no clue about the real issues facing everyday Montanans–but Rehberg is so out-of-touch with Montanans that I guess he has to ask.
The problem stems from Congressman Rehberg’s inability to understand how his lifestyle differs from the reality most Montanans face reveals a deeper problem – he doesn’t represent working Montanans.
This misunderstanding has come to life in Congressman Rehberg’s recent comments (or lack thereof) about what it means to be “cash poor,” the Montana minimum wage, and Pell Grants.
If Congressman Rehberg can’t understand how most Montanans get by, then his ability to create responsible economic policies that work for the middle class is questionable.
Two weeks ago, Congressman Dennis Rehberg–the 23rd richest member of Congress–told constituents at the Missoula City Club that he’s ‘cash poor’ and ‘struggling like everyone else.’ Congressman Rehberg is estimated to be worth between $6.5 million and $56 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Earlier this year, Congressman Rehberg couldn’t respond to questions about whether he knew Montana’s minimum wage–the story made national headlines. The Montana minimum wage is $7.35/hr, while the national minimum wage remains $7.25/hr.
Pell Grants are a responsible way to help thousands of low and middle income Americans access an affordable education. Without Pell Grants, many of these students wouldn’t get the education they need to find good jobs.
However, in March, Congressman Rehberg launched an irresponsible attack Pell Grants in a radio interview with a blogger:
“So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century. You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college.” [Huffington Post, 4/1/11]
Congressman Rehberg is now saying that he wants to save Pell Grants. Not only has Congressman Rehberg failed to provide a responsible plan to ‘save’ Pell Grants, he voted just this year to gut them.