An Open Letter to the President

Today’s Message: @(InsertTwitterHandleHere) VOID SEC.100122 of the highway bill! It steals jobs and punishes competition!


Dear President Obama,

We write to call your attention to an unconstitutional and economically harmful provision contained in the  recently approved 2012 highway bill (H.R.4348), and to ask you to bring relief to the thousands of small business owners and employees who will suffer immediately on its enactment.

Section 100122 of H.R.4348 amounts to an arbitrary punishment of one specific group of people, and therefore is in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting the legislative branch of our government from passing bills of attainder.

“Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils.  They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.”  James MadisonFederalist Number 44, 1788.

Mr. President, Congress certainly has the authority to regulate commerce, but it does not have the right to arbitrarily grant monopolies to certain industries by making the practices of smaller competition illegal by virtue of setting the bar for entrance into the marketplace unnecessarily high. That is exactly what Congress did by inserting language arbitrarily and immediately reclassifying small retail tobacco shops as “manufacturers” if they provide services allowing customers to roll their own tobacco cigarettes. This reclassification, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will force the immediate closure of more than 1,000 small businesses across the United States.

THEREFORE, we respectfully request you use the signing statement powers you have exercised on several occasions to interpret Section 100122 as unconstitutional and unenforceable under your administration.

Mr. President, you might agree that Congress, in search of solutions to perceived problems, often times creates legislation that exacerbate a situation they intended to solve. This is certainly the case with Section 100122 and we plead with you to provide immediate relief. Indeed, such action by you would be appreciated by many in Congress, given their frequent rhetoric about creating jobs and improving the economy.

The offending section:


(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. A person who sells a machine directly to a consumer at retail for a consumer’s personal home use is not making a machine available for commercial purposes if such machine is not used at a retail premises and is designed to produce tobacco products only in personal use quantities.’’.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to articles removed after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Thank you.

Signed: George Renome and friends…

GOOD MORNING Warriors! It’s Monday, July 2, 2012 and we’re hanging on to our freedom to roll our own smokes by a thread. We are asking the President to undo Section 100122 of the highway bill because it’s an assault on one specific group. We are certainly not lawyers or constitutional scholars, but we do know when something has gone rotten.

Today’s Message: @(InsertTwitterHandleHere) VOID SEC.100122 of the highway bill! It steals jobs and punishes competition!

You have your daily message, you have your targets (below), you have your fingers on the keyboard, so let’s GO! Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, web forms, let’s go!

  • @whitehouse
  • @WHLive
  • @blog44
  • @BarackObama
  • @AskObama
  • @DavidAxelrod
  • @PressSec
  • @JesseCLee44
  • @macon44
  • @joncarson44
  • @pfeiffer44
  • @VP
  • @ks44
  • @vj44
  • @Brundage44
  • @DavidAgnew44
  • @ChrisLu44
  • @StevenVDC
  • @opengov

Fight well, with civility, and with your personal story. Too much to say on Twitter? Post it on Facebook!

– GR


20 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the President

  1. Cheryl says:

    Hi George, I would like to take a second of your time to let you know that here in Wisconsin one of the retailers started a petition on the White House, We the People page. The language used isn’t perfect however I would suggest that readers please sign it.!/petition/we-are-retailers-not-manufacturers/wgLndqTT

    The goal is to be heard… as we have been saying and we need to be heard before Friday for Section 100122 to be voided .

    What does this mean? it means we would need 5000 signatures per day!

    Side note: Please don’t create a second petition with new language as it will cause issues in the sites petition review process.

    Thanks for you time and the great work you have been doing to keep us informed.

  2. William Wander says:

    The cigarettes that I roll at the Tobacco Road locations are by far, less hazardous to my health than “premium” brands !!! Yes, “I” roll them myself using a machine that is “rented” to me at these locations. I buy the tobacco and the tubes, “which I pay SALES TAX on” and then I use the rolling machine by myself, without any assistance, to roll cigarettes ! PLEASE DO NOT TAKE AWAY MY RIGHT TO BUY SOMETHING THAT IS BETTER FOR MY HEALTH !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Rhonda Pooler says:

    Site is still down at 4:12 pm Eastern Time. The number that I have for President Obama does not work either. I can’t imagine why?

  4. If it weren’t tobacco products we were talking about, would it even be an issue?? I RENT the machine I use to roll my cigarettes. Cigarettes that do NOT contain carpet glue and other harmful chemicals…just pure tobacco as God intended and rice paper. Not all smokers want to quit and as a former smoker, Mr. President, you know what I am talking about. Please see this issue for what it really is Big Tobacco wants a monopoly on the industry. Please attach a signing statement to the Highway Bill not only to save jobs and small businesses but one of our basic rights to choose what we buy and from whom. Thank you.

  5. Cheryl says:

    6:38 PM CDT the Petition site is back up!!!! Lets hit it hard yet again! current count 126

  6. George Metry says:

    Petition has disappeared. If anybody has any different observance, please let us know. Thank you

  7. well ive been waiting for my user account email so i can SIGN the frickin thing….that was about an hour ago! This is crazy, i bet it would work if we were big tobacco…. ;(

  8. paula long says:

    cheryl, you must have 150 signatures before the petition will be made public on “we the people”. (this is why we can not find it when we click on the above site). please provide a website where where i can go to sign, in order to get the 150 signatures required to get it published .

  9. […] to your desk is a clear violation of Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. As mentioned in this open letter to you yesterday, Congress certainly has the authority to regulate commerce, but it does not have the […]

  10. paula long says:

    this petion is now public on the link shown above, i am proud to say i am signature #173.

  11. Ed says:

    Please cancel section 100122 and save jobs for Americans.

  12. […] your desk is a clear violation of Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. As mentioned in this open letter to you yesterday, Congress certainly has the authority to regulate commerce, but it does not have the […]

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