September 14, 2012
BILLINGS, Mont. – Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg faces harsh criticism after quietly voting against a provision Thursday to extend Montana Air National Guard’s F-15 fighter mission based in Great Falls, Mont.
Rehberg cast his controversial vote on Thursday night, and has yet to explain his decision to vote against the fighter mission.
The bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support despite Rehberg’s no-vote, contains language prohibiting the military from moving Montana’s F-15s.
In the U.S. Senate, Montana farmer Jon Tester included similar language protecting Montana’s F-15s for at least another year. Montana’s F-15 mission had long been scheduled to be transferred to Fresno, Calif.
Not taking any chances, Tester worked closely with the Pentagon to secure a C-130 mission for the Montana Air National Guard if the F-15s leave.
The legislation Rehberg rejected Thursday also provides critical funding for wildland firefighting and veterans’ services.
“Because of election year politics, Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg put his own agenda ahead of Montana and failed to stand up for our F-15 mission and the hundreds of jobs it supports,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff. “While Congressman Rehberg is hiding from his record, Jon Tester is going to bat for MANG and Montana jobs.”
Rehberg’s vote would have resulted in a pay raise for members of Congress. This week’s vote was Rehberg’s sixth vote to raise his own pay raise since taking office 12 years ago. Rehberg previously promised he would never vote for or accept a pay raise.