Representative Steve Daines

Bozeman Daily Chronicle Editorial Calls Out Representative Daines for Obstructionism

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While the Montana political media is obsessed with what Senator Walsh may have

Representative Steve Daines
Representative Steve Daines

done in 2007, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle put out an editorial today about what Representative Steve Daines is failing to do in 2014: take a position on Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.

From the Chronicle:

If Daines opposes the Jobs and Recreation Act, he should say so and state clearly what his objections are. Better yet, he should highlight the problems he has with the measure, set up a meeting with Tester and try to hammer out the differences. And Tester should agree to such a meeting. Amending the bill significantly while keeping all the diverse interests on board might be challenging, but that’s what we pay our elected delegation to do – to work out compromises.

The approval rate of Congress is in the single digits these days, largely, we think, because voters are tired of representatives who can’t work together, who can’t come to the table understanding that the person on the other side is also passionate about their position. That’s unfortunate and, frankly, destructive to the mainstream interests of our country and state.

The analysis is spot on. As I wrote just a few days ago, either Daines would have us believe he hasn’t taken a position on the most significant piece of wilderness legislation in the state (highly unlikely) or he’s simply unwilling to let Montana voters know that he’s decided to obstruct a compromise bill that “was hammered out by a grassroots group of conservation, industry and recreation advocates” (far more likely).

Daines is simply trying to have it both ways, as his interactions with the Montana Wilderness Association point out. He’s told them he won’t support the bill, but has refused to work to modify to suit his beliefs. As the MWA blog explains:

In response to these concerns, Rep. Daines requested feedback to help improve H.R. 1526. He also expressed a desire to see this national bill revised and combined with local bills, like FJRA, to reach some type of compromise that would be acceptable to the House and the Senate. On January 30th, MWA took the Congressman’s suggestion and sent a four-page letter to him explaining our concerns with H.R. 1526 and requesting a response from his office.

Seven months later, we have received no response.

Seven months. With no response from the Representative who says he wants to represent all Montanans. Of course, this is the same candidate who touts his support for funding national parks during government shutdowns he voted for, so this latest bit of political gamesmanship should come as no surprise.

Come on, Steve. Just admit you want to cut down all the damn trees. Or something. Montana voters deserve to know where you stand.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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