Steve Daines Votes for Ryan Budget That Was Too Extreme for Dennis Rehberg

Representative Daines, who is probably the most conservative member of Congress from Montana ever, voted yesterday for the Paul Ryan budget, an ideological and financial assault on Montanan’s poor and middle classes—not to mention an enormous gift to the super-rich who Daines represents in Congress.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues that nearly 70% of the budget cuts affect those at the bottom of the economic ladder:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget cuts $3.3 trillion over ten years (2015-2024) from programs that serve people of limited means.  That’s 69 percent of its $4.8 trillion in total non-defense budget cuts.

The budget Daines supported spreads it assault out to almost every group of Americans except for the 1%: it targets the elderly and college students, those without health insurance and those seeking to find it. It targets the Medicare and Medicaid programs; it targets those who receive food stamps and those who rely on Head Start.

1 in 8 Americans would lose or fail to obtain health insurance by the end of the plan, Medicaid would be cut by nearly a trillion dollars, and up to $125 billion would be cut from Pell Grants that help low and middle income students attend college.

At the same time the Daines-Ryan budget proposes massive cuts in social services, it offers massive tax cuts to the wealthy, tax cuts that will cause a $5 trillion hole in the budget. Robert Greenstein explains:

Meanwhile, the budget aims to cut the top individual tax rate and the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent, eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, and repeal the ACA’s revenue-raising provisions.  These tax cuts would cost about $5 trillion over ten years, based on past analyses by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.  Yet the Ryan plan doesn’t identify a single tax break to close or narrow to cover the lost $5 trillion, even though his budget assumes no revenue losses overall.  And it ignores the hard fact that, in his recent tax reform plan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp only lowered the top individual tax rate to 35 percent even after identifying scores of politically popular tax breaks to narrow or eliminate.

So what does Representative Daines have to say for himself? He told The Missoulian that he considers the budget “a solution to our debt crisis and a balanced budget and a Congress with the courage to lead.”

It’s certainly leadership, alright, if leadership means pressing the accelerator down on the mad Republican race to turn the United States into a third world nation with no middle class, just an elite class and the rest of us who struggle to educate our kids and take care of our elderly. It’s leadership, if leadership means putting the economic interests of the very small elite ahead of the well-being of the nation.

It’s worth remembering that the budget that Daines voted for yesterday is essentially the same budget that Denny Rehberg rejected because it would hurt Montana senior citizens. Montanans rejected the kind of extremism Dennis Rehberg offered in the Senate in 2012; I can only hope they’ll have the sense (and information from the media) to reject an even more reactionary version in 2014.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • From a political standpoint, proposals like Ryan’s are for perception management only. Such proposals set the framing that allows Democrats, our supposed left-wing alternative, to creep further rightward in response.

    If you are going to write about politics, it would help to get some of the nuances of gamesmanship.

        • No, you should. I think it’s only going to take the same post another two or three thousand times before I embrace your nihilistic, defeatist, and empty philosophy.

          • You’re such a Pollyanna, so easy to fool! Politicians feast on the likes of you!

            I understand money and power, how these forces make low-caliber people into corrupt politicians. that’s all your Tester, Bullock, Baucus are – third rate people.

            I am none of those words you used there. I am simply a grown up. Politics is not for children, but you party faithful types behave like children, so leaders treat you accordingly.

    • Proposals like Ryan’s can only move pull Democrats further left if they are taken seriously. If the Ryan budget were laughed out of the building whenever it was presented, there would be no pressure to ‘compromise’ on any of it. It takes politicians like Daines to make such a strategy viable.

      Also, you say ‘allow’ Democrats to creep rightward, but I think the far better verb would be ‘force’. After all, the rightward drift doesn’t help Democrats; instead, it continues to erode their political base. If things like the Ryan budget pull the center rightwards, it may give the Democrats room to creep right, and indeed compels them to do so, but this is hardly to the advantage of the Democratic party.

  • “…the mad Republican race to turn the United States into a third world nation with no middle class, just an elite class and the rest of us who struggle to educate our kids and take care of our elderly.”

    What you describe eloquently is bipartisan fait accompli. It seems to me, the trick now is to reverse the condition, not point fingers at the evil political partner in crimes already perpetrated, and now perpetuated, against ordinary people.

  • I just really don’t understand why this is some kind of surprise. I mean, he’s taking money hand over fist from rich people and corporations. These are the people he serves.

    Montanans to Daines? Ha, what good are they? Poor knows Daines, ignorant you bet, and lazy as hell he says. All we need to do is bombard them with enough TV ads from now until November and that’s that – America can continue on the decline.

    Because that’s the idea, you know? If we can get enough money into the hands of the rich people they can create their Utopia somewhere else. And I don’t think it’s what More had in mind. Maybe Daines has even gotten an invite, or at least he’s well on his way.

    • There are levels in politics. At the very top, when they go behind closed doors, there are no differences in philosophy, no philosophies actually, only the different interests they represent.

      Down at this level we are really supposed to believe that they represent differing ideologies and fight for causes. I know most people buy in to that, as it offers personal validation. But I am surprised to hear it from you.

      You’re just campaigning, right?

      • ” there are no differences in philosophy”

        “only the different interests they represent.”

        That’s a pretty good definition of a functioning Republic, Mark

        • Yeah. I should have added the word “financial.” This is not a republic, hasn’t been since 1947, hasn’t had a real president since ’63.

          Parties don’t represent common people, but rather are beards for financial elite. The nicest thing you can say is plutocracy.

        • Hey, PW: American news media is no longer curious about Ukraine, so I suppose you’ve moved on too. But there are still mass protests. Only now the new government is calling them “terrorists” (“armed men” – HuffPo) and is cracking down big time. Russian language is outlawed, just like Franco’s Spain. (Obscure historical reference, I know. Such behavior,, strangely, has fascist tints.)

          You sure know how to pick ’em.

          • At the time you were making this comment, I had an article about Ukraine in draft form already.

            Also, terrorists and armed men are not the same thing in media parlance. Show me the media calling them terrorists. Armed men is a completely accurate description.

            And while protesters seized buildings in Kiev only after months of having their demands and suffering the deaths of dozens of their comrades, These forces are armed and wearing uniforms without insignia – under international law, Ukraine would have been within its rights to use force against them immediately, instead of waiting until Ukrainian police were killed.

            Also, you’re repeating falsehoods again. Russian language is not outlawed, will never be outlawed, and the president of Ukraine repeated that announcement this week. In fact, even the law that your believed RT had been in a panic about was never actually signed. Too bad you get your news from RT, so you never got the memo :^( and you don’t bother asking Russophones living in Ukraine if their language has in fact been outlawed.

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