Kill the Bill Update

Folks: The enemy of our enemy is our friend. The “Club for Growth” is a conservative group that has a bit of influence among Republicans. They’ve announced they want Congress to oppose the highway bill. We’re GOOD WITH THAT!

This can help us. Spread the word that Club4Growth is “key voting” the highway bill. For those who don’t know, the Club for Growth is a very conservative organization and they’re dead set on getting Republicans who fail to stick to their principles out of office. This is good for us because that means a cross section of lawmakers will NOT want to upset the Club. It’s a long shot, but any port in a storm, right?

Here’s what the Club wrote:

KEY VOTE ALERT
“NO” ON THE HIGHWAY/STUDENT LOAN BILL

Judging from news reports, it appears that leadership in both chambers plans to airdrop the student loan bill (and possibly the flood insurance bill) into the Highway bill conference report. A vote could happen in the next couple of days.

The Club urges all members of Congress to vote against this bill. This will be a key vote on the Club’s 2012 congressional scorecard. We have already key-voted previous versions of the highway bill.

Our Congressional Scorecard for the 112th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to our members and to the public.

Okay warriors, this is our last gambit. Make it count. Check out this list: http://clubforgrowth.org/projects/budgetcutscore/ and talk to each member from the top down. I’ll post some Twitter handles on my Twitter feed so keep an eye out.

I know this is a very tough time for you. Congress is trying to screw us over. Be strong, stay strong. This too shall pass… let’s make certain those who are double crossing us don’t get out without some figurative bruises.

– GR

 

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Kill the Bill

I’m Eric Cantor and I am Big Tobacco. They have factories in my state. They have money in my pocket. I could care less about anything or anyone else. Cash is king.

Eric Cantor is the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and he sold us out to Big Tobacco. There were a lot of sellouts, but this gentleman had an opportunity to help us. He was asked directly. Instead, he actively sold us down the river. It’s the art of the deal. It’s the bidding that must be done. It’s the price of admission. It’s where his bread is buttered (the Big Tobacco companies ARE Virginia). Thanks, Eric Cantor. Thanks for siding with Max Baucus, Barbara Boxer, Jim Inhofe, John Boehner, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Shuster, Lee Terry, Tom Marino, Tom Rooney, John Mica, Tom Price, Don Young, and all the other tax delinquent sellouts to Big Tobacco. You took us to the prom, fiddled with us, and then made us walk home alone.

In my mind, a person’s principles are his core. They are his foundation. He doesn’t betray his core, lest he be redefined. If he is not redefined, he is who he is. Eric Cantor is trapped in his core. For that, we pity him. Good luck keeping that going, Eric. Maybe you can pay for some more media training so you don’t mumble crazy under the bright lights.

Thursday, June 27, 2012. The RYO poison provision is in the highway bill. It’s on page 520 of the bill. Click this link if you want to read it. http://1.usa.gov/LERJgY

Now, our best hope is the failure of the highway/student loan/flood insurance bill. I don’t like rooting for failure, but it’s us against them. It’s either the failure of the bill, or the beginning of the end of free enterprise. Senate vote on the bill could come as early as today. House vote late Friday or early Saturday.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ Vote NO on the highway bill. It’s bloated. It sacrifices #smallbiz jobs. http://bit.ly/NewTax

OUR MISSION: PLEASE don’t buy anything they’re selling. Your member of Congress already sold us down the river. If they didn’t, they watched it happen. A few brave members are already publicly standing with us, instead of standing on the sidelines with their thumbs hidden, pretending to seek more information about that crazy Big Tobacco bailout we’ve been telling them about for weeks. Our message is no. No, no, no. They did it. They know it. They let it happen.

Kill the bill. No other option. Tell all members. Start with the Senate. Conservative Republicans are more likely to oppose the highway bill for various reasons. Encourage them. Use your Twitter to follow the list at this link: http://twitter.com/#!/huffingtonpost/u-s-senators and interact with them. My recommendation is you don’t waste your time on senators who were on the negotiating committee, they sold us out too.

Tell them. Kill the bill. Kill it.

– GR

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Wednesday: 8:14pm ET

So the deal is cut, and here’s what it is:

  • Highway bill that increases the Federal deficit and national debt by billions.
  • Student loan interest rate subsidy for 7 million college students, which also increases the deficit, and the national debt.
  • Flood insurance program run by the government that loses money every day, which increases the deficit, and the national debt.
  • Earmarks for states claiming damage from the BP oil spill.
  • No Keystone XL pipeline (higher energy costs).
  • No Coal Ash relief (higher energy and transportation costs).
  • Big Tobacco bailout, crushing 1,000 small businesses all across the United States (we see higher unemployment).

They did it. They sold us down the river.

We have a chance.

WE HAVE A CHANCE.

Keep hitting the lawmakers we’ve been hitting today. And get ready to hit more tomorrow.

You are awesome. Tomorrow, the Senate conservatives are our target. Stay tuned.

– GR

 

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Wednesday Noon Update

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) holding a news conference today telling reporters (in code) the highway bill is done, all that’s left to do is twist arms until all the GOP get on board.

HIGHWAY BILL UPDATE: U.S. House Speaker John Boehner just held a news conference on Capitol Hill to give an update on the highway bill. He basically said the highway bill isn’t finished yet, but they’re close, and they’re working to tie the student loan interest rate issue into it.

TRANSLATION: The bill is finished and leadership is working to round up support on the House GOP side. According to CQ-Energy reporters (people who live and breathe this stuff and KNOW the important staff members in the negotiating room) OUT of the bill is Keystone XL. Also OUT of the bill is the Coal Ash stuff. Probably still IN the bill is the RYO provision.

WHAT NOW: The vulnerable people are the House Republicans sitting on the negotiating committee. The less time they’ve been in Washington, the more empathetic they are to our cause. Concentrate on the list of lawmakers on the blog this morning http://bit.ly/NewTax because IF THEY WANT TO, they can say NO to signing the bill unless the RYO provision is stripped.

SPECIAL FOCUS: Make sure you’re talking to Lankford, Ribble, Southerland, Herrera-Beutler, and Camp.

Keep going strong. Don’t let the wet-behind-the-ears intern answering the phone give you any grief, comfort, or false advice. We can win, but we have to keep pushing.

-GR

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You’re Not Listening

Hey Congress: You’re not listening. Or maybe you’re just choosing not to hear me, and him, and her, and them… all of them. Well, Congress. If you hear only one thing, hear this…

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ The Baucus #BigTobacco bailout is a FRAUD on US free enterprise. Remove it from the highway bill http://bit.ly/NewTax

We are at DEFCON 1.

Good morning on Wednesday, June 26, 2012. It’s day THREE of make or break week and the danger is still imminent. Thank you for GREAT participation last night. We raised our voices and shattered some glass using Facebook and Twitter to go nuclear on members of Congress who are sitting on their thumbs, chattering their teeth and nervously hiding in the corner, afraid to confront the Big Tobacco bailout. We sounded the alarm because we are in condition critical. U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) believes he has won with his favor to Big Tobacco intact. We must spur House Republican negotiators to STRIP the Baucus provision before they agree to the overall bill.

Hey Congress, there is NO reason to be afraid of Big Tobacco! Hit the bully in the nose, HURRY!

CONGRESSIONAL STAFF: PLEASE REMOVE THE FOLLOWING PROVISION FROM THE HIGHWAY BILL. Here is the provision inserted into the Senate’s version of the highway bill through S.Amdt1825 on March 8, 2012 (Senate roll call vote 29). There were dozens of pages and hundreds of lines in the amendment, but this was the very last piece:

===============================================

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.”

===============================================

That’s it. That’s the language that is a fraud on free enterprise, a lie on paper in black and white, and something apparently so radioactive even the most conservative, freedom-loving members of Congress won’t touch with a ten-foot intern.

GUESS WHO SUPPORTS THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT AND LOST THEIR RE-ELECTION BID?

U.S. Rep John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma) lost his primary race last night in part because he supported the same-old-same-old Washington BS, including the Big Tobacco bailout.

CONGRESSPEOPLE, HERE ARE YOUR TALKING POINTS: Big Tobacco spent millions this year alone to put this provision in the bill. We want this provision out. Why?

  • Only the Big Tobacco companies will benefit under the Baucus provision in the U.S. 2012 highway bill.
  • The Big Tobacco companies spent more than $3 million in 20 days hiring 60 lobbyists urging inclusion of this provision.
  • The Baucus provision will “reclassify” 1,000 small retail tobacco shops as “tobacco manufacturers” crushing them with huge new taxes and regulations.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has already determined under the Baucus provision, these “reclassified” businesses will be forced to close.
  • A retail shop is NOT a “manufacturer” and must not be drowned with the same taxes and regulations as one.

OUR MISSION: This Baucus bailout stinks. It’s a dirty power grab by the Big Tobacco companies and the members of Congress who’ve been paid off. It must be stopped. Target the folks below on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and phone calls. Dial the Capitol Hill operator at 202-224-3121 and ask for one of these members. There’s also TOLL FREE numbers you can call to reach the Capitol Hill switchboard. Try a Google search for “call your member of congress toll free”.

-GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

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Tuesday Evening Action Alert

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MAKE OR BREAK WEEK UPDATE: TUESDAY EVENING
URGENT
We’re hearing word from our people on Capitol Hill this evening that the Baucus Big Tobacco bailout provision appears to be in the final highway bill. Baucus took control of the finance/taxes section and he clamped down on keeping his favor to Big Tobacco in the final version. This is not good news and we need to act NOW to raise holy hell with members. Most members of the Transportation bill conference committee have NOT seen the bill and it must be approved by the whole committee before it can be sent to the full House of Reps for a vote.
OUR MISSION
Light up all these members at the bottom of this post. They MUST know to act to strip the Baucus provision from the bill. If they don’t act, it will be EXTREMELY difficult to defeat the bill once it gets to the floor.
TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
TONIGHT’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ The job-killing Baucus #BigTobacco bailout is STILL in the highway bill. STRIP it 2NITE! http://bit.ly/NewTax
PHONE
Please Call: 202-224-3121 and ask for each member’s office from the list below. Tell them you want to see the Baucus “roll your own” tobacco provision stricken from the highway bill.

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

Do it, friends. Hit them hard.

-GR

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Living in Denial

Today: Focus your energies on the Senate negotiators. They’re listed at the bottom of this post. And remember, they can block us from Facebook, unsubscribe us from their Twitter feeds, hang up the phone, burn our letters and ignore the writing on the wall, but we’re still here. We are spreading the word high and low, far and wide. Congress, please don’t sell out small businesses and their employees!

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

Good morning and hello Tuesday, June 26, 2012! If this is your first time here, we are discussing the Big Tobacco bailout that’s been stuffed into the highway bill. It essentially uses the power of the Federal government to prohibit small retail tobacco shops from providing “roll your own smokes” services, handing Big Tobacco a complete monopoly on cigarette sales (they only have 99.9% monopoly now). Now, if the Big Tobacco bailout stays in the highway bill and becomes law, more than 1,000 small businesses will be forced to close. How did we get here? Well, here’s what happened:

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

On March 8, 2012, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (pictured above) introduced amendment S.Amdt 1825 to the highway bill. If you look at the title and the first few dozen pages of language, it looks like a bill to reauthorize “the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 and to provide full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for 1 year, and for other purposes.”

OTHER PURPOSES: The VERY LAST provision in Max’s maxi-amendment was this (pardon the wet ink):

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.”

WHAT THE HECK do cigarettes have to do with highways? Oh that’s right, NOTHING. Nice move, Max.

So if you look at the tax code, you’ll find the provision above “reclassifies” retail shops as “manufacturers of tobacco products” and subjects them to all sorts of new taxes and regulations. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has taken a look at the situation and has determined that no small business will be able to survive the reclassification and will be forced to close, or else the jack-booted thugs will break down their doors and haul everyone to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend $3 million in 20 days hiring 60 lobbyists to push specifically for this provision??!!

Esteemed members of the U.S. Congress: PLEASE STRIP THE BAUCUS BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT FROM THE HIGHWAY BILL!

The talking points in support of the Big Tobacco bailout are this: “We’re closing a tax loophole.”

Our response, “Bulls**t.”

If this weren’t a favor to the Big Tobacco companies, then WHY did Big Tobacco spend more than $3 million dollars in 20 days hiring more than 60 lobbyists to lobby Congress SPECIFICALLY on this provision??!!

Outside of this blog, the Baucus Big Tobacco bailout has never been exposed to direct sunlight. Not one public hearing. Not one minute of testimony from CBO, nothing from small business owners, nor people like me who enjoy rolling their own custom blended smokes. No public clamoring, no hue and cry for Congress to act. No Dateline NBC piece with dramatic music, pretty lighting, and a guy running from reporters. Nope, nothing. Just some lucky lobbyists who were able to buy a congressional Finance Committee staffer a couple dinners, grease the skids with a few campaign contributions, and gather up some convenience store and warehouse support (people who make money off Big Tobacco sales) as thin and transparent cover for Big Tobacco’s power play.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ Don’t use the highway bill for a #BigTobacco bailout! #Smallbiz jobs at stake! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Congress: If you let Big Tobacco have this, more than 1,000 small businesses will close, throwing 10,000 people out of work. Big Tobacco already has 99.9% market share! But they’re greedy; they want more; and they’re using YOU, Congress, to get their way. STOP the Big Tobacco bailout! You have the power and you have the ability to make things right. Public policy should not be created this way. This is nothing but a dirty, lowdown, Big Tobacco sponsored favor to the bad guys.

-GR

TODAY’S FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE IN THE SENATE!

Democrats

Republicans

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Make or Break Week

If you’re a member of Congress, or work for a member of Congress, we are asking you to learn about the provision we call the “Big Tobacco bailout.” It’s a provision U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) slipped into the highway bill without anyone knowing, and we want it stripped from the bill because:

  • The Congressional Budget Office says it will result in the closure of >1,000 small businesses;
  • Reclassifying “retailers” as “manufacturers” for no other reason than to shut down retail tobacco locations is bad government;
  • Giving Big Tobacco companies a monopoly on cigarette sales vs. the 99% market they have currently is anti-competitive; and
  • It takes away our freedom to roll our own smokes.
Here is the actual provision Sen. Baucus sneaked in under piles of pages of an “education” amendment:

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.”

————-

TAXTRACKER!

We don’t know, so we wait. While the political world watches in breathless anticipation of a United States Supreme Court ruling on whether the President’s crowning achievement health care law is constitutional, we’re waiting to hear what congressional negotiators have done with the highway bill.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Big Tobacco bailout provision eventually ends up in arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court as a breach of the U.S. Constitution.

Good morning and welcome to Monday, June 25, 2012. Congressional staffers worked like hungry vermin over the weekend on the highway bill and we still haven’t heard if they’re finished, whether they stripped the Big Tobacco bailout from the bill, whether they’ll shoot for the big burrito this week, or whether they’ll punt through another extension.

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ MAKE NO DEAL until the Baucus #BigTobacco bailout is stripped from the highway bill! http://bit.ly/NewTax

First, let me commend those of you who dedicated a great deal of time this weekend to getting our message out. We spray-painted our words all over Twitter and Facebook constantly! Publicly, lawmakers like to tell you they haven’t noticed our messages. Privately, they see us all the time and they have no clue what to do with us! Some members have taken to blocking our messages from their Facebook pages, for instance U.S. Rep. Diane Black. She had us blocked from both her official Facebook page and her campaign Facebook page. Why? I suppose it’s because we’ve been anxious to tell the truth about her sellout to Big Tobacco to all of her constituents.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black has shut down free speech on her Facebook pages. I wonder if she burns books, too.

This is how water buffalo cool down in the hot summer. Is she wearing Coco Chanel?

Second, if you don’t believe in the power of your efforts, let me remind you we’ve used social media to find out where a whole bunch of lawmakers stand on HR4134. The most recent member to publicly oppose the Big Tobacco bailout was U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), and he communicated his opposition via Twitter! Thank you, Congressman and we sincerely hope you will communicate your concerns to your colleagues sitting on the highway bill negotiating committee, Rep. Dave Camp and Rep Fred Upton. They have the power to strip the Big Tobacco bailout provision (similar to HR4134) from the highway bill and save thousands of jobs!

OUR MISSION: It looks like it’s make or break week for us in Congress. The highway bill is the most immediate threat. If lawmakers approve the Big Tobacco bailout in the highway bill and it gets signed into law, we have another helluva fight to undertake at a whole new level. SO in order to avoid that, let’s make some noise for the people who can fix things. Here are the House Republicans on the negotiating committee. They need to hear our opposition to the bailout provision. Tell them what this means to you. It’s personal and tell them so. Stay civil; encourage them to protect free enterprise and preserve jobs. Most importantly, tell them to strip the Big Tobacco bailout from the highway bill.

Be good. Be online.

– GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

Senate Republican conferees (and their Twitter handles):

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Why Congress Must Boot the Big Tobacco Bailout

***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***

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) and President Obama. Sen. Baucus wants to ensure the Big Tobacco companies that have given him THOUSANDS of dollars have a complete monopoly.

If you’re a member of Congress, or work for a member of Congress, the above provision is the “Big Tobacco bailout” and we want it stripped from the highway bill because:

  • The Congressional Budget Office says it will result in the closure of >1,000 small businesses;
  • Reclassifying “retailers” as “manufacturers” for no other reason than to shut down retail tobacco locations is bad government;
  • Giving Big Tobacco companies a monopoly on cigarette sales vs. the 99% market they have currently is anti-competitive; and
  • It takes away our freedom to roll our own smokes.

Update, update, who has the update?

Right now, there are people gathered around a table in a room somewhere in the complex of the U.S. Capitol, and they’re talking to each other about the highway bill. Specifically, they’re talking about the two versions of the highway bill, the House bill and the Senate bill. They’ve been working for weeks comparing the two bills and thinking privately about what absolutely must stay, and what can go. In the Senate version is a provision U.S. Senator Max Baucus attached in a middle-of-the-night maneuver that seeks to reclassify retail tobacco shops as “tobacco manufacturers” and tax and regulate the bejeezus out of them, forcing them to close and thus eliminating Big Tobacco’s minuscule competition. No doubt when that provision is discussed, there will be an intense fight by Big Tobacco lobbyists to keep it in.

Good morning, it’s Sunday, June 24, 2012. Talks continue today among the staff of U.S. House and Senate negotiators working out a transportation authorization bill (the highway bill) and people are keeping mum about what’s going to be in the final package until they’re ready to release it to the public. When we hear, we will share with you. Until we know for certain, we must keep up the noise, the pressure, the level of engagement required to get in front of the decision-makers.

According to the Associated Press:

“…the two sides were also close to an agreement to overhaul federal transportation programs, according to House and Senate aides from both parties. Negotiations were expected to continue through the weekend, with votes expected next week on either a major transportation bill or an extension of current programs, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the talks.”

SO… WHILE members of Congress are deciding the fate of our freedom to roll our own smokes, let’s help decide the fate of whether our local members of Congress will have our support when they run for re-election. Every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election this year and the power we hold over our elected representatives is our power to vote. Further, we can influence others and how they might vote. If a politician senses he is losing votes, especially from the very base of people who should be supporting him, then he’ll likely change his behavior.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LawmakerXYZ MAKE NO DEAL unless the Baucus #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill is stripped! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Be loud, be alert, bring your “A” game and let’s be seen and heard online! 

– GR

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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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