Montana Politics

Montana Republicans Vote Against Veterans. Again

Montana Republicans love nothing more than wrapping themselves up in the cloak of the American flag and wielding their copies of the Constitution (presumably unamended) like weapons, suggesting that they are the real patriots in our nation, leaders of the first order who defend the liberties the Montana and national constitutions protect. They say it on occasion, and imply it often: that it’s only their party whose members really love our nation and that it’s only their caucus who cares about the people who defend it.

And then they have to vote. And the truth comes out. All that pious intonation about patriotism, all those snide digs at the Democratic Party, and all of those smug claims about being the real party of national defense are laid bare for what they are: empty rhetoric when it comes to serving those who served the nation in the military.

“Sure,” Republicans might as well say, “ we care about veterans. But we more care about not paying a nickel more in taxes to actually take care of them.”

Today was another such statement by Montana Republicans, who voted in the House not to fund a Veterans’ Home in Butte—and against even taking the time to debate the motion on the House floor, lest their weekends get delayed discussing the needs of these veterans when they refused Butte Representative Ryan Lynch’s motion to blast the bill to the floor.

Back in February, Senator Sesso, noting that over half of the Legislature had signed on to the bill as co-sponors, made the case for the bill. Using low-interest loans, already donated land, and already-developed plans, the state could begin construction on a facility to serve the needs of 34,000 veterans in southwest Montana:

But that’s not enough for the 34,000 veterans in southwest Montana who need this housing closer to their families and loved ones. Every year that passes translates to higher construction costs. The original project estimate was $13.9 million, assuming a 2013 construction start date; now it’s nearly $15 million and going up every day.

The ’N’ votes below voted against even discussing the need for a veterans’ home in southwest Montana.


The next time one of these no votes visits your door or sends a mailer trying to win over your vote, take a minute to think about the veterans, whose needs they said weren’t even worth debating, whose sacrifices weren’t even worth spending a few minutes discussing on a windy, rainy Saturday in March.

Bloviating about liberty is a pleasure granted by the rule of our nation’s constitution, but protected vigilantly by servicemen and women who risk everything to defend those rights.  It would certainly be nice if the party who claims to be for liberty—against all evidence to the contrary—would have had the decency to use their liberty to speak to thank those who gave so much.


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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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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