Tag Archives: John Mica

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:



(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.


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”.


Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members

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Freedom to Roll in Jeopardy

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ No sellouts! Strip it, forget it. STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill http://bit.ly/NewTax

Good morning and Happy Friday, June 22, 2012, and unfortunately, we’re back in the danger zone. As reported in several news publications, comments made yesterday by House and Senate negotiators, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), indicate there might be progress on getting the big burrito 2012 highway bill in front of lawmakers and approved. With those two lawmakers at the helm of drafting a final bill, I have LOW confidence we won’t be sold down the river. Why so little confidence? Because neither of these two have been vocal AT ALL about where they stand on the Big Tobacco bailout. Sen. Boxer doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of opposing Federal taxes and regulations or standing up for small business, and Rep. Mica is an old school member of Congress, ready to trade his horse, grandmother and best marbles if he can score a deal benefiting his own interests.

Congress will sell us out if they think they can get away with it.

WHAT CAN WE DO: If there’s a bill to come from this “progress” it must still get approval from the House/Senate conference committee of 47, AND then get approval from both the full House and the Senate. Our aim remains to expose the Big Tobacco bailout and get it stripped from the bill. First things first so let’s stay in front of the conferees. Who’s to say the bill written by Mica/Boxer is worth anything more than the paper it’s spilled on? The conference committee will have an opportunity to dissect the agreement and debate and vote on its provisions. STAY TUNED because in these last days and hours before June 30, anything can happen and it can happen quickly.

WHAT IS THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT: It’s an anti-competitive, anti-free enterprise provision slipped into what became the Senate-approved highway bill. The language essentially reclassifies small tobacco retail shops as “manufacturers” if they provide customers the ability to roll their own smokes. If that reclassification occurs, “retailers” magically turned into “manufacturers” will suffer huge new taxes and regulations and will likely close shop. The Congressional Budget Office is convinced the provision will result in the closure of more than 1,000 small tobacco shops nationwide. But, Sen. Max Baucus’s staff conned some Democrats and Republicans to introduce the eight line provision as part of a larger amendment to the highway bill and poof! There was a vote and now we’re working to strip it out. A number of House lawmakers led by Rep. Steve LaTourette object to the Big Tobacco bailout. Rep. LaTourette sent word to all of his colleagues asking them to get rid of the bailout language, so we’re cautiously optimistic he’s shed a good deal of light on our cause.

WHERE AM I MOST EFFECTIVE:  Warrior, you are effective when your voice is heard. Pick up your megaphone and get on the Twitter and Facebook and speak your mind. We have made a great deal of progress educating lawmakers, and now is the time to get louder. I’ve included some of the usual suspects below AND added some of the senators, just so they know they’ll pay a penalty for trading our freedom to roll.

EFFECT CHANGE: From the start, we have been all about changing the behavior of those members in Congress who would sell us out for chump change from Big Tobacco. Let your local lawmakers (and a few others) know we are in the danger zone and we require their commitment to help. Ask @RepJustinAmash why he won’t tell us his position on HR4134, ask @DocHastings where he stands on the #BigTobacco bailout, ask @MarshaBlackburn if the botox has worn off and whether she’s ready to strip it and forget it. Ask, ask, ask because we must engage, engage, engage.

YOU ARE THE BEST: You are. Go nuclear on the clowns opposing us. Be good to our supporters. Question those who’ve not weighed in. Recruit a friend. See you online.

– GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members


Senate Democrat conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • Barbara Boxer (CA) @SenatorBoxer
  • Max Baucus (MT) (Not on Twitter)
  • Jay Rockefeller (WV) @SenRockefeller
  • Tim Johnson (SD) @SenJohnsonSD
  • Chuck Schumer (NY) @ChuckSchumer
  • Bill Nelson (FL) @SenBillNelson
  • Bob Menendez (NJ) @SenatorMenendez
  • Dick Durbin (IL) @SenatorDurbin

Senate Republican conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • James Inhofe (OK) @JimInhofe
  • David Vitter (LA) @DavidVitter
  • Richard Shelby (AL) @SenShelbyPress
  • Orrin Hatch (UT) @OrrinHatch
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) @KayBaileyHutch
  • John Hoeven (ND) @SenJohnHoeven
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Who Needs Approval?

Looking at the big picture, it really is no wonder the Congress as a whole has an approval rating somewhere between spilled milk and a three-day old fish that’s been sitting in your sun porch. The people we’ve sent to Washington to be our voices tell us one thing at home, but then do an entirely different thing when they get to Washington. Such activity isn’t new, but it is more readily known now due to the Internet’s instant access to information. Also, this type of betrayal has given great rise to groups like the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, and No Labels. But even those groups have been infiltrated by the double-talkers.Good morning and happy Saturday, June 16, 2012. Did you know there are roughly 340 million new Tweets created every day? That’s why we’re here and that’s why we have to be persistent. Our mission is to keep popping up and keep exposing the Big Tobacco bailout hidden in the highway bill, and to expose HR4134 as a dirty Big Tobacco bailout.

The places we’re talking and the amount of talking we’re doing is making a big difference. It’s kind of like standing across the street from your favorite member of Congress’s office and shouting. Sometimes the congressman hears us; sometimes his constituents passing by hear us; pretty much all the time the congressman’s staff hears us. Good stuff, right? It’s Father’s Day weekend so I’ll be brief so you can get outside and clean off the bar-b-que.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: Both the House and the Senate are in session next week and there will be a push to get some kind of compromise highway bill through. The Senate continues to pretend they’re royalty and won’t negotiate with the House. The House continues pretending they’re drunk commoners set on buying that stallion next door for a bag of doody. Both sides still seem far apart, and neither side will commit to telling us they’re getting rid of the Big Tobacco bailout provision. All sides seem resigned to a clean extension of the current program while they work out a bigger bill, so keep your eyes on this because I’m sure Big Tobacco’s lobbyists still have some tricks up their sleeve.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) drinking at Big Tobacco’s campaign trough at both the State and Federal levels.

A Ugandan water buffalo taking a swim.

By the way, I was contacted by the Water Buffalo Preservation Society of Uganda yesterday, and they’re none too happy with my continued posting of pictures of water buffalos next to pictures of U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee). I’m not really sure what their beef is, so for the time being I’m going to ignore them.

OUR MISSION: Continue the open dialogue with your local members of Congress, members of the highway bill conference committee, and House and Senate leadership. What’s also effective is “replying” to those members who post new stuff to Facebook and Twitter. My rule is, if they’re posting, they’re listening and we have something to say. So let’s go get them troops and PLEASE be careful. The weekends are notorious for throwing people into Twitter jail. Follow the “4-4-4” rule with your “@LawmakerXYZ” practice and you’ll be fine. (Retweet as MUCH as you want because it’s not registering as spam in the Twitterverse).


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Fixed Contests

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ HR4134 is a #BigTobacco bailout tax hike sneaked into the highway bill. Stop the sellout and save jobs! http://bit.ly/NewTax

Maybe Miss Pennsylvania was on to something when she said the contest was fixed? You know, like how some in Congress want to fix a Big Tobacco bailout…

The Donald says she’s kooky.

Okay, yesterday I was ticked off. U.S. House Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) went on FOX News Monday telling Bill Hemmer she was ALL against the U.S. government weighing down business with regulation. SIX TIMES she said she wanted government to get off the backs of the job creators here in our United States. But the truth is she supports legislation that will CRUSH more than 1,000 small businesses for the SOLE BENEFIT of the Big Tobacco companies. So I blew off some steam and maybe, MAYBE I was a little rough in calling her a “double agent.”

So last night, I was all set to offer Congresswoman Blackburn an opportunity to sit down in the backyard over some beers and talk this thing out, but then she tweeted this:

“The House just passed my amendment to put an end to the practice of the Federal government picking winners and losers. #DOE #Solyndra”

This. Means. War.

Not in OUR HOUSE Ms. Blackburn.


There is no more clear case of Congress trying to use the Federal government to pick “winners and losers” than H.R.4134, the Big Tobacco bailout.

H.R.4134 is a bill  introduced by U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) and supported by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Its provisions are also contained in the U.S. Senate’s version of the highway bill and our aim is to stop this bailout.

Here’s HOW the law will use the Federal government to pick winners and losers:

The official summary of H.R.4134: The bill “Amends the Internal Revenue Code to include within the definition of “manufacturer of tobacco products,” for excise tax purposes, any person who for commercial purposes makes available for consumer use a machine capable of producing tobacco products.”

The practical effect of this is it will FORBID small tobacco shops from offering customers the choice of rolling their own smokes. How? Reclassifying small retail shops as “manufacturers” subjects them to MOUNTAINS of new taxes and regulations, and zones them OUT of retail locations. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will SHUT DOWN any small businesses that tries to continue operating under the new classification.

Loser picked = Small Business. Winner picked = Big Tobacco. 

Big Tobacco figures that if you and I can’t roll our own cigarettes, we’ll buy theirs. If we buy Big Tobacco’s crappy cigarettes, Johnny Executive gets a new private jet. Look, I’m all for people and companies making money and succeeding, but don’t do it by using Congress to write fair competition out of law. Big Tobacco shouldn’t be given a monopoly on smokes. And Congress should open their eyes to this sham and travesty of justice.

Johnny Big Tobacco looking down upon his subjects.

Here’s another funny thing. H.R.4134 will supposedly collect money from small retail establishments where you can roll your own smokes and put that “new money” toward deficit reduction. Only it won’t. Again, the Congressional Budget Office says NO revenues will be collected for deficit reduction because the small retail shops will have been put out of business by the Federal government!

So I ask you: Should we make peace with those trying to shut down our freedom to roll our own smokes? Should we go along to get along with those who SAY they’re against Federal regulations, but then heap new regulations on small business? Should we trust a congressperson who SAYS she doesn’t want the Federal government picking winners and losers, but then does that very thing by supporting H.R.4134?

Marsha Blackburn laughing at voters on her way to the bank with Big Tobacco campaign cash.

No, we shouldn’t, and no we won’t. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn, shame on you. I realize you’ve taken at least $24,500 from Altria’s PAC for your congressional campaigns, but that doesn’t mean you have to do Big Tobacco’s bidding. And shame on your Baltimore-swinging colleague Rep. Diane Black for introducing the bill on behalf of Big Tobacco in the first place. This is NOT what Congress was meant to do and there is NOTHING more atrocious than a government picking winners and losers ESPECIALLY when the winner is Big Tobacco.

There it is, friends. Our mission today is to continue talking with the members who can make a difference.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE: As TaxTracker predicted, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer introduced her alternative highway bill yesterday. Well, she kind of introduced it by hosting a telephone conference call with “stakeholders” to tell them about it. She hasn’t released the text of the new bill publicly, yet. She did apparently give the new bill to the House highway bill negotiators and told them it was the Senate’s bipartisan offer. House members have yet to weigh in yet with what they think of the offer. My thought is they’ll reject it. We’ll ask our moles today what they know and report back.

FOCUS: Reach out and touch on Twitter and Facebook, and here are some folks we can effectively discuss our matter with today (Twitter handles):

  • @JohnBoehner
  • @RepPaulRyan
  • @EricCantor
  • @GOPLeader
  • @GOPConference
  • @SpeakerBoehner
  • @GOPWhip
  • @KevinOMcCarthy
  • @RepHensarling
  • @RepTomPrice
  • @TeamTiberi
  • @RepJasonAltmire
  • @RepJimCooper
  • @RepTimHolden
  • @RepMikeMichaud
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That Dog Don’t Hunt

Cute, right? Did you know dogs have been man’s friend, work associate and companion for more than 14,000 years? They do all kinds of neat stuff like help us hunt, herd livestock, find lost children, guide us, and even sniff out bad stuff at airports. The most popular saying about dogs? They’re man’s best friend.

You know what else they say about dogs? If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.

Our elected members of Congress want you to think they’re our friends. They want you to think they move through Congress as if they’re in an alien culture surrounded by greed, corruption and scandal. They, however, are as pure and clean as the wind-driven snow, always acting with pure altruism and simply looking out for your best interests. You know what I think of that? It’s pure poppycock.

Take for instance H.R. 4134, the move by Congress to SELLOUT small businesses so they can do a favor for Big Tobacco. Oh, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee) will tell you they’re just trying to ensure everyone pays their fair share in taxes, but the reality is they’re sneaky, they’re doing something corrupt, and they are doing Big Tobacco’s bidding. How do I know? I know because there’s another saying about stuff that goes on in Washington, D.C.: “Follow the dollar.”

We’ve documented through public disclosure records that Big Tobacco has hired more than a couple dozen lobby firms and spent well over $2 million dollars on pushing H.R. 4134 in the first three months of 2012. Altria alone had 15 separate filings in this area. What is TRULY odd about this is H.R.4134 didn’t even exist as an introduced bill until March 5, 2012. So, for Altria and the other Big Tobacco companies to swarm and invest MILLIONS of DOLLARS to push H.R.4134 tells me the bill and lobbying effort was a grand and coordinated plan.

TODAY’S MESSAGE: @LAWMAKERXYZ Lobbyists are getting MILLIONS to push #BigTobacco bailout HR4134. STOP them. Save my job. http://bit.ly/NewTax  

OUR MISSION: We’re pressing ALL members of Congress (especially your local Representative) to tell us where they stand on the Big Tobacco bailout. The House of Representatives is in recess right now so that means most lawmakers are in their home town, looking to talk to you. Meet with them. Ask them a question at a public event. Make sure they tell you where they stand on this Big Tobacco bailout that serves only to strengthen Big Tobacco’s monopoly on cigarettes. I like to roll my own smokes, and if you do too, it is critical we STOP H.R.4134 and stop it now. Facebook, Twitter, phone, email, smoke signals. Let’s go!


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News Release for Rep. Diane Black

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ and Eric Cantor: What’s dirtier than a #BigTobacco bailout? Nothing. http://bit.ly/NewTax

[We’re keeping this message all weekend to make sure it rings LOUD and CLEAR. By the way yesterday I noticed some of you were adding Boehner’s Twitter handle (you guys are SO good!). Truth is, I purposely left it off. Trust me, there’s reason behind my madness.]

Ahh, the dime. Isn’t it pretty? It’s a coin that is the birth of many classic phrases such as, “I’ll drop a dime on you” or “You won’t nickel and dime me” or “Hey Carlos, put down that machine gun and grab me a dime bag.” My personal favorite is, “If I had a dime for every Congressman who told me they were going to help me, I’d be a rich man.”

Good Morning! It’s Sunday, May 20, 2012 and it’s nearly 70 degrees already in Dubuque, Iowa. Thunderstorms coming later, but then a beautiful week ahead. I raise the “dime” issue because it’s true. If you and I had a dime for every time Congress told us one thing, then did another, we’d be filthy rich. We’d be Warren Buffet Rich. We would be “can’t spend it all in ten lifetimes” rich! In other words, members of Congress often times say one thing, but do another.

For instance, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee), SAYS she wants to help small business, but then she DOES something else. She has introduced a bill to force the US Government to reclassify small business tobacco “retailers” as “manufacturers.” WHY does she want to do this? Well, she won’t SAY publicly. That’s kind of funny, because she issues a press release every time a water buffalo breaks wind, but she won’t issue a single public statement about why she wants to force higher taxes and regulation on Mom & Pop smoke shops. See for yourself! Click here for her website. Look there and see propaganda about her announcing the winners of a congressional art competition, stuff about how she’s “holding Congress accountable to taxpayers” (pure crap), “encouraging small business growth and job creation” (the exact opposite of what her bill HR4134 does), town hall meetings, job fairs, manure, rocky mountain oysters, and chicken lips. BUT, there’s NOTHING about her bill, HR4134 – the Big Tobacco Bailout that she’s pushing for Altria, R.J.Reynolds and other Big Tobacco interests.

It’s just so odd. Rep. Diane Black can’t wait to tell you about the sunrise and how she made it possible, but she won’t utter a PEEP about her Big Tobacco, tax raising, job killing, grave robbing legislation! YOU DON’T THINK SHE’S HIDING IT, DO YOU?!!

I did a little search on her website for the word “tobacco.” Only one reference was found, relating to how she wanted to take away a presidential slush fund because it was only being used by states to raise taxes on tobacco products, i.e., Marlboro, Camel, Winston, Salem, etc. SO… Rep Diane Black, do you care to explain? WHY are you hiding your big legislative push? You have NO OTHER BILL IN ANY CONGRESS that has gained the number of cosponsors that you currently have on HR 4134, so why are you hiding it from your voters? Why not put it front and center on your website, your $40,000 direct mail pieces, your Big Tobacco sponsored campaign commercials and signs?

Dr. Jekyll

Ms. Hyde


OK, maybe your press secretary is busy. Or maybe your chief of staff and legislative director think they’re press experts because they watched West Wing. I’ll help you out with a draft press release you can post on your site. Please submit your edits so I can learn from you. Here’s the draft:


Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tennessee) introduced H.R.4134, a bill to simply reclassify small tobacco shops where you can roll your own cigarettes as bonafide “tobacco manufacturing facilities” so these small businesses can either pay and follow the same taxes and regulations as the Big Tobacco manufacturers, or just go out of business. This special and filthy favor to Big Tobacco currently has the backing of dozens of lawmakers who, not coincidentally, have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Big Tobacco.

“Golly, I’m just a former nurse, small business owner, and former minority-status teacher from Baltimore, Maryland who lived in the Washington, D.C. mentality for most of my working life. Then, I struck gold with a husband who suddenly became very wealthy. When we moved to Tennessee I became so bored, I decided to buy a seat in Congress so I could get back to Washington. And that’s what I did. In fact, I just forgave the million dollars I loaned myself for my campaign, because I know if I can get this bill, H.R.4134, through the House of Representatives, Big Tobacco will refill my campaign cash drawer! I hope I can get ALL of Big Tobacco’s cash-only members of Congress to sign my bill and together, we can slip this into law before I’m exposed,” said Representative Black, a long-time bureaucrat who sides with conservatives in order to conceal her true identity.

Eliminating Big Tobacco’s competition by heaping taxes and regulation on small Mom & Pop tobacco shops is something Representative Black hadn’t even though of before Big Tobacco contacted her legislative staff (one of whom has VERY close ties to Big Tobacco players, wink, wink). But once Black understood the cash involved, she decided siding with Big Tobacco instead of small business and jobs was the best course for her personal gain. After voting to CRUSH small business tobacco shops because you can roll your own smokes there, Representative Black will introduce legislation to open year-round hunting season on unicorns, abolish high-definition cameras in Congress, and make it a Federal offense to sing in the rain.


Okay, Rep. Black, there’s my draft. It’s the best I can do without your input. We’ll wait to see your changes before sending it out.

TWITTER FACEBOOK ARMY: Your mission is to continue talking to your local members of Congress via all the channels we’ve been using. Anecdotally, more than a few members of Congress are hearing us and tell us they know what Rep Black is doing is sinister and evil. They won’t be signing onto her bill, and in fact, they’re trying to convince some who have to jump off that crazy train. Have a great Sunday, friends and we’ll see you online!


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The Big Tobacco Bailout & The Week Behind Closed Doors

Follow the dollar.

It’s Monday, May 14, 2012 and we are in for a week that will include some closed door meetings, some drive-by criticism of our effort, and hopefully some sunshine. More on that in a moment. First, today’s message.

—-> Today’s Message: Tell John Mica and @LawmakerXYZ no new taxes in the Highway bill, especially a #BigTobacco bailout! http://bit.ly/NewTax

—–>Please replace “@LawmakerXYZ” with your local member of Congress or maybe some members from the Conference Committee list here.

CLOSED DOORS: Last Thursday, the news reported that the chiefs of the highway bill negotiation, U.S. Rep John Mica (R-Florida) and U.S. Sen Barbara Boxer (D-California), will meet this week to continue negotiations (put on a thick coat because that’s going to be one FROSTY meeting). Rep Mica, who is in a fight for his political life in a primary race against U.S. Rep Sandy Adams (R-Florida), was quoted in The Hill as saying, “We will have our first one-on-one. Staff has done some good preliminary work and they are moving along, so we will see.”

House Rep. John Mica (R-FL)

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

As reported by The Hill, Mica further noted the group of 47 House and Senate members hammering out the final highway bill have broken into “working groups” to follow up on the work their staffs have already begun. “The staff has been doing similar work [but] we actually want members to be engaged in the process.” (Double-thanks to reporter Keith Laing of The Hill newspaper for his story and staying on top of the issue.)

DRIVE BY CRITICISM: Last week I engaged U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in the Twittersphere because he made a random comment to the effect that if Congress didn’t raise taxes on tobacco, Big Tobacco was going to get away with more profits. WRONG SENATOR, YOU’RE ENABLING BIG TOBACCO’S MONOPOLY AND MUTLI-BILLION DOLLAR PROFITS! I was civil in my response, and thank you to those who re-tweeted. We must hold our elected officials accountable, and that includes publicly challenging their statements when they obscure the truth.

A LITTLE SUNSHINE: Though there’s still a lot of time for disaster, it appears the House is not going to get rolled by the Senate in a “take it or leave it” maneuver. Since Rep Mica says they’ve already cracked the glass on changing the two competing bills in an effort to come up with a single agreement, then there’s hope we can convince the negotiators to STRIP OUT the Senate provision that raises taxes on small businesses and UNFAIRLY targets higher taxes and regulations on United States small business firms solely for the benefit of Big Tobacco.


Listen, Washington is a BIG town with MANY agendas. To be heard, we have to be the squeaky wheel. We have to be the people in their faces. We’re the neighbor with the big yard sign. We have to make lawmakers face the fact that they are going to run people OUT of business for the benefit of BIG TOBACCO. Until Congress has dropped this cockeyed attempt to squash free and fair competition, we must continue to tell our story. As the very same people who put each of these members in office, we have a responsibility to tell them how to represent us!! Like that bumper sticker on that beat up pickup down the street says, “think globally, act locally.”

Make the pledge to hit Twitter and Facebook twice today – once before 11am and once after 3pm. Bonus points for anyone reaching out again after 9pm! Each time, “talk” to four members on the highway bill conference committee (click here for the list). If you post more than four direct contacts with lawmakers, the Facebook and Twitter algorithms might think you’re a spammer and suspend your account.

Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for what you’ve done! I promise, some members of Congress are already hearing us and nodding their heads; we have to continue raising a stink so a majority of Congress will listen!

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