Add U.S. Rep. Justin Amash

Great news, warriors! We’ve added U.S. Representative Justin Amash to the list of lawmakers opposed to H.R.4134, the Big Tobacco bailout!

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash is on our side!
He opposes HR4134, the Big Tobacco bailout.

Congressman Amash sent the following last night from the Twittersphere:

“@GeorgeRenome I’ve now had a chance to review #HR4134. I am opposed to it. Best of luck.”

This is great news! We sincerely appreciate Rep. Amash’s responding to our request to review HR4134 and his decision to oppose the Big Tobacco bailout. Thank you, Congressman Amash and keep fighting the good fight on Capitol Hill. You are a true champion of small business and free enterprise!

Good morning and welcome to the first Saturday of official summer, June 23, 2012. John Adams said our republic is a “government of laws, not of men.” What he meant is under the construction of our government, tyrants have no opportunity to exercise ultimate authority. That’s why we have three branches of government; executive, legislative, and judicial. If the legislative branch does something bad, the executive branch can veto it. If the executive branch oversteps its authority, the judicial branch can knock it down. If the judicial branch says the Constitution doesn’t allow something, the legislative branch can amend the Constitution, but only with the consent of the states. So even though there’s a lot of opportunity for mischief within and even across our branches of government, eventually things get sorted out. That John Adams was a pretty smart gent, right?

2nd President of the United States, John Adams

Those of you new to the blog, here is the Big Tobacco bailout provision. We’re fighting it tooth and nail. I’ll explain more in a minute.

***BEGIN TEXT OF BAUCUS BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT***

SEC. 40425. ROLL-YOUR-OWN CIGARETTE MACHINES.

(a) In General.–Subsection (d) of section 5702 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new flush sentence:

“Such term shall include any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use (including such consumer’s personal consumption or use under paragraph (1)) a machine capable of making cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products. A person making such a machine available for consumer use shall be deemed the person making the removal as defined by subsection (j) with respect to any tobacco products manufactured by such machine.”.

***END TEXT OF BAUCUS BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT***

Legislating is complicated business, especially when the United States has enough Federal code, regulations and laws to sink the Titanic a couple times over, but once upon a time I looked up subsection (d) of section 5702 of the Internal Revenue Code and what this Baucus provision does is add to the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products” any retail shop where you can roll your own smokes.

So is a retail outlet a manufacturer? Of course not. So why is Baucus pursuing this provision? Is it because manufacturers pay higher taxes than retailers and Congress is bloodthirsty for more tax revenue? Possibly. But when we looked at the Congressional Budget Office examination of the impact this provision will have on small retail tobacco shops, they found the shops will have to shut down because they can’t afford the new tax and regulation regime. So WHAT is Senator Baucus’s motivation?

Every member of Congress has taken some amount of Big Tobacco cash in the form of campaign contributions, whether directly from the Big Tobacco companies or through third-party political committees funded in part by Big Tobacco. It’s a fact.

I can’t speak to Senator Baucus’s personal motivations, but it is a fact the senator has taken at least $25,000 in campaign contributions directly from Altria, Lorillard, and R.J. Reynolds, the Big Tobacco companies. It’s also a fact that these Big Tobacco companies spent more than $3 million in just 20 days between March 5 and March 31, 2012 lobbying Congress to pass a Big Tobacco bailout provision. Hmm… When I roll my own smokes, Big Tobacco doesn’t make any money. Big Tobacco wants to put small roll your own retailers out of business. A member of Congress inserts a special provision to eliminate Big Tobacco’s competition. And Sen. Max Baucus has taken at least $25k from Big Tobacco. HMM….

OUR MISSION: This weekend, staff members for Congress are working away trying to put the finishing touches on the highway bill. Unfortunately, members of Congress don’t write bills anymore, they let their staffs do it and often times the staff make the final decisions of what goes into a bill and what’s stripped. Unless members of Congress specifically direct their staff to do something, mischief is abound. We must tell lawmakers to strip the Big Tobacco bailout from the highway bill. It’s nonsensical, anti-competitive, and will crush more than 1,000 small businesses across the U.S. at a time when our economy can least afford it.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ It’s up to you. Save #smallbiz and strip the Baucus #BigTobacco bailout from the highway bill! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Take it to the Twitter and the Facebook. Take it to the online community and spread it wherever you see fit. Take our message to the mountaintops and roll an avalanche down the valleys below. We can make a difference if we’re loud enough and expose enough of this rotten Big Tobacco bailout. Go on the attack, my friends. This is the weekend that matters. Make your hard work over these last few weeks count! See you online.

– GR

PRIMARY TARGETS – Talk to them and the people who follow them. These people can save, or sink us this weekend.

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

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