Rehberg AWOL after abandoning unfinished business

Congressman skips responsibilities after failing Farm Bill, voting against Montana

Rehberg voted for pay increase while rejecting firefighting, MT military mission

BILLINGS, Mont. – Congressman-turned-lobbyist Dennis Rehberg is “Absent Without Leave” today, just hours after abandoning his responsibilities in the U.S. House of Representatives and leaving unfinished business.

Rehberg and his colleagues in the House left this weekend, after failing to pass a Farm Bill during one of the driest seasons in Montana history. Because of Rehberg’s failure, the Farm Bill is set to expire this Sunday.

John Youngberg, vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Rehberg’s partisan bickering is “frustrating.” Earlier, Youngman told Lee Newspapers that “it’s time for someone to suck it up and get things done.”

Before leaving town to hit the campaign trail, Rehberg did manage to vote in favor of giving himself another pay raise and against funding to fight wildfires across Montana.

Rehberg also voted against a provision preventing the U.S. Air Force from relocating the Montana Air National Guard F-15s to Fresno, Calif. The measure, which Montana farmer Jon Tester supported, ensures Montana’s F-15s stay in Great Falls into 2013.

Great Falls’ KFBB-TV asked Rehberg about his vote against Montana’s F-15 mission, but noted calls “have not been returned.”

Working overnight this weekend, Tester also voted in support of Montana’s F-15 mission, for increased wildland firefighting efforts, and against a pay raise for Congress. In June, Tester worked across party lines to pass a Farm Bill that saves taxpayers $23 billion.

Earlier this month Rehberg told KFBB-TV that “Congress needs to stay in session until its work is done. Period.”

Rehberg, who holds a “leadership” position in the U.S. House of Representatives, failed to make that happen.