Rehberg, Schweitzer Trade Barbs Over Spending

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg drew a critical response from Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday after peppering a legislative GOP caucus with criticism of government spending.

Speaking to Montana House Republicans as they prepare for the biennial legislative session that begins in January, Rehberg said the difference between them and Schweitzer “couldn’t be more stark.”

Spending liberally won’t work at the federal or the state level, said Rehberg, who thanked legislative Republicans for pointing out that “you cannot spend your way into prosperity.”

In remarks later by telephone, Schweitzer described Rehberg as “a crew member of the Titanic criticizing the rock of Gibraltar.”

He said Rehberg was on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee during a “spending spree” of historic proportions, yet criticized a governor in office as Montana benefits from a state budget surplus, substantial tax cuts and improvement in Montana’s bond ratings. Schweitzer said that under his administration, those ratings improved for the first time in 26 years.

Republicans are in the minority on the Appropriations Committee.