When they tell you it’s “nothing” you know it’s something…

U.S. CONGRESS: 1,000 small business owners, their employees, their customers, and their communities are counting on you to STOP the Big Tobacco bailout.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ Our economy needs #jobs, not a #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill closing 1,000 #smallbiz! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Happy Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17, 2012!  According to the newspaper, this is the 102nd Father’s Day in the U.S. Yessir, 102 years of bad ties, strong cologne, and jealous mothers when dad opens a brand new set of wrenches specially fit to his motorcycle! Like everything in life, there’s a little disagreement on who came up with the idea of Father’s Day, but the warm tubes of the Internet tell me it was Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington back in 1910. She was one of six children being raised by a single dad and she thought it’d be nice if in addition to Mother’s Day, there was a day to honor dads like hers. To all dads out there, happy Father’s Day and have a great one!

Happy Father’s Day! Except for you Big Tobacco. You sit down.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: More news reports are in this morning predicting nothing is getting done to push a big burrito 2012 transportation bill forward. As reported in The Hill newspaper, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) doesn’t think House negotiators have the “urgency” or “leadership” required to get anything done, and Rep. John Mica (R-Florida) says the Senate appears “unwilling to compromise at all.” I have to be candid; I like where this is going.

Don’t get me wrong. Fixing up roads and bridges is important and the nation’s transportation infrastructure is vital to maintaining clear paths for commerce, but not so important that a Federal highway bill can be used as a hammer to flatten more than 1,000 small businesses. Putting a Big Tobacco bailout provision in the Senate’s version of a highway bill was wrong, anti-competitive, and poor governing.

For the uninitiated, the Big Tobacco bailout seeks to “reclassify” small retail tobacco shops as “manufacturers” and subjecting them to new taxes and regulations. The Congressional Budget Office believes if that provision becomes law, more than 1,000 small business owners plus their employees will be out of work.

If the Big Tobacco bailout was such a good idea so desperately necessary, why hasn’t Congress talked about it before? Not one congressional hearing. Not one minute of public debate. Not anything except a middle of the night favor for some guys flying in corporate jets who work for companies that count their profits in the BILLIONS every 90 days.

Big Tobacco company executives get a thrill out of showering Congress with cash. Campaign contributions are only one aspect.

Maybe you’re a skeptical news reporter forced by your editors to read this blog. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “I called Sen. Baucus’s office and they told me it was nothing.” Journalism 101: When someone tells you it’s “nothing” it is definitely something. NOT TO MENTION the Big Tobacco companies spent more than THREE MILLION DOLLARS in just 20 days lobbying for this legislation.

Well, I imagine you’re dying to crack open that new can of pretty-smelling water and find a shirt that’ll match your new golf tie so I’ll be brief. Here’s the target list:

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

OUR MISSION: Let’s get loud this week. We’re heading toward the do-or-die zone as far as the highway bill is concerned. Lawmakers will have to approve a House-Senate compromise big burrito if they can agree on stuff, or they will feel the need to approve an extension of the current program while the sides take a breather. Regardless, we have to be on guard for any effort to push through the Big Tobacco bailout. As you might have already figured out, we can’t trust Big Tobacco farther than the next breath. They’ll try and do anything to get their way. Be strong. Be vocal. Keep painting stink on this rotten Big Tobacco bailout, and have a great day! See you online at Twitter and Facebook and keep a close eye on that barbecue, okay?

– GR

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