Congressman Discusses His New Senate Candidacy
Congressman Steve Daines made two stops in Valley County on Veterans Day, capping off a long day that began with appearances in Crow Agency and Billings.
Daines greeted local Republican supporters at Sunnyside Golf Club at 4 p.m. He talked about shipping Montana coal with Ben Unterseher, a BNSF conductor who is the state legislative director for the railroad union, and called the natural resource issue our opportunity for jobs and national security.
"I'm working with union members and tribal members on issues like jobs," Daines said. "It's unusual (for a Republican) but it's a good thing."
Daines, 51, a first-term Congressman, officially announced his run for the U.S. Senate last Thursday.
"As I travel around the state, clearly folks are dissatisfied and unhappy with what happened in Washington, D.C. It was a failure of government," he said. "They failed to deal with the underlying issue. There is no budget."
He said when government fails its people, it shouldn't get paid, so he donated his salary during the 16-day government shutdown to the Honor Flights that take veterans to see the war memorials in the nation's capital. He worked with Montana's Democratic senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, to clear barricades from the WWII memorial so the vets could visit.
Daines voted with other House Republicans in October to block a budget bill if it didn't defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act, thus precipitating the shutdown. Later he voted for a bill with bipartisan support that reopened the government for a limited time.
On the subject of the Affordable Care Act, Daines said, "We do not have the votes right now to repeal Obamacare in the Senate."
He said the states should step in with creativity to solve the problem of uninsured Americans, health insurance should be sold across state lines to increase the pool of customers and there should be caps on jury awards in malpractice cases.
Daines was asked, "Is Congress going to get anything done?"
He said Congress is going to get a Farm Bill passed before the end of the year.
Daines said he was very excited about the veterans memorial project for northeast Montana at Fort Peck that Tom Markle and Steve Page are working on.
After about an hour and a half, Daines went on to the Fort Peck Hotel to join in a potluck dinner and speak with veterans enjoying a deer hunting weekend with the Wounded Warrior program, organized by area veterans' service organizations and Operation Valor.
"I'm excited to spend time with these veterans who have had injuries," Daines said. "We honor vets on Veterans Day, we say thank you. One way to show our gratitude is to bring them to Montana to hunt mule deer."
He went on to say this highlights the importance of the Second Amendment in this country.
"It means liberty and freedom, not just hunting," he said.