Highway Robbery Negotiations: Day Two

TODAY’S MESSAGE: Congress! Quit hiding the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill. Vote to strip it out! http://bit.ly/NewTax

“If you don’t pass our Senate Highway Bill, we’ll HUFF and we’ll PUFF and we’ll BLOW your House bill down!”

 Good morning! It’s Wednesday, May 9, 2012 and yesterday marked the start of the 2012 highway bill negotiations. If you were unlucky enough to see the meeting, you know all they did was go around the table so each lawmaker could make an opening statement. One by one, members talked about their personal priorities including highways, roads, bridges, transit, fiscal discipline, revenue formula reform, etc.

 Bottom Line: The Senators want their Senate-passed bill. The House GOP folks want their own bill. The House Democrats would be happy with almost anything. But, that’s what we expected. Yesterday was the time for chest puffing, crowing and strutting to try to intimidate. Today, we get down to the brass tacks.

The Senate bill is bad because it includes the Big Tobacco bailout that unfairly uses huge new taxes and more regulation to CRUSH smoke shops offering custom tobacco blends and roll your own services. We want that provision STRICKEN from the bill.

If Senate negotiators try to ROLL over House negotiators and use their total bill as final language, we have a problem. So we must continue to pressure those who will side with us and seek to strike the Big Tobacco bailout from the bill.

You might have seen some of my Twitter messages yesterday to Orrin Hatch, Ed Whitfield, Doc Hastings and others thanking them for NOT stating any support whatsoever for the Big Tobacco bailout provision in their opening statements. I didn’t think any of them would mention it, but we listened intently to ensure they didn’t slip it in under the cover of colorful, inflated rhetoric like, “necessary revenue adjustments” or something. There’s no defending this underhanded Big Tobacco bailout, which is why we want to see a straight up or down vote on this bailout in the negotiations.

Today, your mission is to continue raising this issue in every venue you can. The negotiators are meeting again this morning, and there’s little telling where this is going to go. I’ll keep you updated.

GET FIRED UP: The Big Tobacco bailout is a tax hike. It’s needless regulation. It will crush small business. It’s underhanded. It’s a power play by Big Tobacco. It’s Congress’s sellout to Big Tobacco. And as so many of you have stated, it has NO business even being IN the highway bill! This whole debate is what is wrong with Congress and our Federal government. They do the bidding of their campaign cash donors, slide something in a bill that stinks like pig sewers, and tell us they’re representing us. Hogwash. I’m fired up and you should be, too! Let’s go get ’em!!!!

– GR

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