We haven't heard much from Rep. Denny Rehberg in the wake of his loss to Jon Tester in the U.S. Senate race. Usually the congressman would pop up on Twitter. Sometimes there'd be activity on his Facebook wall. Once a week, without fail, his official e-newsletter would show up in our inboxes with missives about presidential land grabs or announcements of upcoming listening sessions.
Alas, Rehberg's congressional Twitter account has been deleted. His congressional Facebook page has vanished. We haven't received a newsletter since Nov. 6. Even the messages we've left for his communications director have gone unanswered.
Are you there, Denny? It's us, your constituents.
Rehberg may have lost the Senate election, but his sixth and final term in the U.S. House doesn't expire until Jan. 2. And Congress still has plenty to do in the 2012 lame duck session. There's partisan wrangling over the much-ballyhooed "fiscal cliff" roughly $500 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to take effect in early January. There's a potential House vote on immigration legislation to, among other things, allow the families of green card holders to stay in the United States while waiting for their own green cards. There are farm provisions to consider, a cross-chamber stalemate over Violence Against Women Act reauthorizations to resolve and an omnibus appropriations bill that still hasn't made it to the floor. The lame duck session is as full of vital leftovers as a post-Thanksgiving refrigerator.
It's not that Rehberg hasn't been working. The House passed a bill Nov. 16 to normalize trade relations with Russia. Rehberg voted for it. One day before, the House passed the Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act. Again, Rehberg voted in favor of the bill.
What worries us is that, in the wake of a crushing election defeat, Rehberg's fallen silent. He has just over a month left of representing Montana as the state's lone congressman. We could postulate about what he'll do next, but there's plenty to worry about in the interim.
The title of Rehberg's last newsletter, sent on Nov. 6, was simple: "Hours left to vote." Rehberg still has weeks to vote on behalf of Montanans. He should continue to keep us in the loop until he's actually done.