Please Don’t Super Size Big Tobacco’s Profits

Why is everyone upset about New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s move forcing people to buy smaller soft drink sizes when Congress and the U.S. Government are about to force you and me to buy Big Tobacco’s commercially made, crappy smokes?!!

Welcome to FRIDAY! It’s June 1, 2012 and we continue to hear more about the so-called negotiations on the U.S. highway bill that Congress has been working on for months. It appears the talks are breaking down a bit. As predicted, California’s U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer is apparently ready to drop a new transportation bill in Congress next Monday. The only problem is, the House negotiators had no role in drafting it! Who knows if any senators did either…

Secret crap that circumvents the public process is why Congress has an approval rating that is slightly below the feeling you get when stepping in dog doo.

I stepped in what?

Let’s rewind a little for those just joining us.

So, the Senate passed its highway bill a few months ago and sneaked into it (under the cover of evil and desperate darkness) the Big Tobacco bailout provision that will reclassify small tobacco shops where you can roll your own smokes. This “reclassification” will FORCE Mom & Pop tobacco shops OUT of the “retail” category and INTO the “manufacturer” category. The new taxes and heaps of new regulations will simply force these small businesses OUT of business (just ask the Congressional Budget Office because their people already figured that out).

Then, a few weeks later, the House passed its own highway bill. It wasn’t too comprehensive, but it was a signal to the Senate saying, “We don’t like your bill; we have some ideas to make it better, and save taxpayers some money.”

So, the House and Senate appointed 47 members to a “conference committee” to hammer out the differences between the two bills. Their job is to agree on enough so that an agreed upon bill can come before both houses of Congress for final approval. So far, one public meeting and LOTS of private meetings that were supposed to be for “staff only”, but then some good members of the House started attending and asking questions.

So, now Sen. Boxer has apparently had enough and wants to drop a new bill that she’s written in her spare time.

WHAT ABOUT THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT PROVISION??

SENATE: We don’t know what Senator Boxer plans for this provision. It’s not her baby, it’s part of Senator Max Baucus’s payoff to Big Tobacco for all the campaign cash they’ve given him, it doesn’t fund ANY transportation programs AT ALL, and it doesn’t belong in the highway bill in the first place. SO, why would Barbara keep it in the bill? We don’t know. We hope there’s no tit-for-tat going on, but who knows? After all, they ARE members of Congress. The best we can hope for is that Senator Boxer is aware the Baucus provision is a dirty and potentially illegal scheme by the Big Tobacco companies to solidify their monopoly.

Twitter: @SenatorBoxer       Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/senatorboxer 

HOUSE: Over on the House side, our education effort is working great. For reasons you can probably imagine on your own, it is a slow process, but we are in it for the long haul. There are members who hear us and agree, and there are members who hear us and think back to that campaign cash Big Tobacco showered on them. So we continue with eternal optimism. Rep. Steve LaTourette gets it. Others get it. We are on the right side of this battle!

Speaking of fundraisers and campaign cash, GUESS WHO is showering cash at a fundraiser for Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) the author of H.R.4134, the Big Tobacco bailout? That’s right! Big Tobacco!

Our moles within the swamp confirm Big Tobacco will make its presence VERY KNOWN through its cash contributions at an upcoming fundraiser to be held June 20th right across the street from the U.S. Capitol. Cocktails start at 6:30pm ET if you can make it. Oh, and the contribution levels are $500 per person, $1,000 per host PAC, and $2,500 per PAC individual. What that means, I don’t know for sure but I can guess which guests will get more face time with our dear, dear bureaucrat from Baltimore, Ms. Black.

WHY I keep putting a water buffalo right after Rep. Diane Black’s picture, I just don’t know. But it feels right, doesn’t it?

OUR MISSION: KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! There are rock stars in our midst and they are you! Like I said in the beginning, our elected officials want to hear from us and they want us to shower praise upon them. It’s also our responsibility to educate them about our concerns AND to call them out when they sellout to Big Tobacco.

I like yesterday’s message and I like how you used it so effectively. Let’s use it again today.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ We need highways, not a #BigTobacco bailout. STOP the #jobs killer HR4134 http://bit.ly/NewTax

And, let’s focus on these areas initially. Then go about your regular routines making certain you talk MOST with your local members of Congress:

Alabama

@RepMarthaRoby

@RepMoBrooks

Arkansas

@RepRickCrawford

@RepTimGriffin

@Rep_SteveWomack

Arizona

@RepGosar

@BenQuayle

@RepDavid

California

@JeffDenham

Colorado

@RepCory

@RepTipton

Florida

@RepSandyAdams

@RepRichNugent

@RepRivera

@RepDennisRoss

@Rep_Southerland

@AllenWest

Georgia

@AustinScottGA08

Have a GREAT Friday and we will see you in the Facebook and Twitters! Don’t forget to email your local representative and what do you think about writing letters to the editors of their local newspapers? The more people we talk with, the more we move toward beating Big Tobacco.

– GR

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