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Rehberg Combats Drugs, Scrutinizes Budget On Foreign Ops Subcommittee

Location: Washington, DC

Rehberg Combats Drugs, Scrutinizes Budget On Foreign Ops Subcommittee
February 24, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC - Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, says his appointment to the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs, gives him an opportunity to combat drugs in Montana, as well as closely scrutinize oversees spending proposals.

During a subcommittee budget hearing, Rehberg heard testimony on America's ongoing efforts to fight drugs overseas. Rehberg bristled at a suggestion by a fellow committee member that the U.S. cease operations to destroy poppy fields in Afghanistan, and allow the country to continue growing the dangerous crop until other aspects of the Afghanistan economy emerge. Drug-traffickers cultivate the poppy plant to produce heroin.

"It's time to get tough with these drug traffickers and say, 'No, we're not going to just put up with the drug trade that exists throughout the world.' It's being brought to places like Montana and affecting our young minds," said Rehberg. "We can look at Nicaragua, Colombia, and Afghanistan and say, 'We're not going to do that anymore. We'll give you a hand up, but we're certainly not going to condone the kind of attitude that is destroying our social life in America.'"

At the same hearing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke on behalf of some emergency spending budget items before the Foreign Ops subcommittee.

"I think she's going to have a little closer scrutiny than perhaps the State Department has had in the past. Some of the appropriations that were brought to us seem more like long term issues, as opposed to emergency spending, such as building an embassy in Baghdad. We're going to be real diligent in taking a close look at all the budget items," said Rehberg.

House leaders appointed Rehberg to the House Appropriations Committee, and three of its subcommittees, including Energy and Water Development and Military Quality of Life. A former appropriator in the Montana State Legislature, Rehberg says, as a committee member from the West, he'll bring a fresh perspective to budgeting in Washington D.C.

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