It’s Time for Steve Daines to Decide: Does He Stand With President Trump or For Montana Schools, Health, and Public Lands?

Steve Daines is Donald Trump’s man, through and through. He’s made it clear, through his campaign events, Fox News appearances, and even his Facebook ads, that he’s running for re-election to support Donald Trump’s agenda for America. Daines has even stood by the President when his destructive trade war has devastated Montana agriculture and when he has used vile language to describe women, the disabled, and members of Congress.

But yesterday, President Trump released a budget that should, if he had a shred of concern for Montanans, cause Senator Daines to criticize the President in the loudest voice he can muster from the back of Greg Gianforte’s jet.

The budget Trump presented would, without even balancing the budget, slash funds for student loans, public schools, Medicare, Medicaid, and our public lands.

Despite promising just days ago that he would protect Medicare, Trump proposed massive cuts to it and Medicaid, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

The White House proposes to cut spending by $4.4 trillion over a decade. Of that, it targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts—such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps—and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to disability benefits.

The budget would lower future spending from where it would be under current policy.

Steve Daines has to decide: does he stand with President Trump, or does he denounce cuts in health programs for elderly and impoverished Montanans?

The Trump budget, while offering tax breaks costing $5 billion for private schools, will cut $60 billion from loan forgiveness programs and reduce Department of Education funding that provides supports for rural schools, students in poverty, and after-school programs that help disadvantaged students prepare for school by almost 8%.

Steve Daines has to decide: does he stand with President Trump, or does he denounce cuts that will have a devastating impact on our neediest students and those entering the workforce after college?

The Trump budget also would slash discretionary spending for the Land and Water Conservation Fund that Steve Daines claims to champion by a whopping 97%:

The Vet Voice Foundation’s response to the national parks cuts were severe. “Their latest proposal to cut funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 97% is a broadside against our nation’s veterans, who have long-turned to our public lands – places like parks and historic battlefields – for healing and reflection as they transition out of the military and back to civilian life,” said Will Goodwin, a U.S. Army veteran, associated with the Vet Voice Foundation.

Steve Daines has to decide: does he stand with President Trump or does he denounce massive cuts to a program he calledone of [his]highest priorities in the U.S. Senate” before claiming he would  “not stop fighting until we get full funding of LWCF.”

Steve Daines has to decide: does he stand with President Trump, or does he stand up for a program he claims is vital for protecting “the rich outdoor heritage of Montana.” Does he stand with President Trump, or does he stand with our national parks which, despite decades of deferred maintenance needs, would see a $581 million cut?

It’s time for Steve Daines to decide: does he stand with the President’s cruel budget that will undermine the well-being of our people and lands, or does he stand with Montana?

For once.

His silence yesterday, when he had no response to the Trump budget but had time to post a video touting his continued support for voting against impeachment, should tell us all we need to know about what matters to Senator Steve Daines, and it sure as hell isn’t with us.

Isn’t it time we elect a Senator who cares more about Montana than massaging Donald Trump’s ego?

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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  • Daines supports this administration’s cut to public education funds by 8% instead of increasing them to assure all public schools have the funds needed to improve opportunities for Montana’s children (all of America’s children) to experience a high quality education.

    Think about the impacts of reduced public education funds…especially added to Montana’s inadequate funds for all of our public schools across the state.

    1. Increased class size.

    Even highly skillful teachers have neither the time to recognize your child as an individual, with individual strengths, weaknesses and needs; nor will they have the time or ability to accommodate each and every child, your child, every day.

    2. Fewer highly skilled, experienced, caring, highly motivated…can do inductive; and especially, deductive teachers exist.

    3. Fewer, if any skillful, supportive staff, essential for both students and teachers exist.

    4. More overworked, stressed out, poorly compensated skillful teachers leave…. the same for supportive staff.

    5. Access to high quality teaching resources disappears.

    6. Politically influenced adaption of a know-nothing, think-little, rote, mile-wide, inch-deep, teach-to-the test curriculum is adopted; or, is continued.

    7. Education becomes overly focused on subject specific often educationally disconnecting drills, particularly in elementary schools.

    8. Children who are underachieving or with disabilities no longer, if they ever had, their individual strengths, learning style and needs recognized or accommodated.

    9. Children not attending gifted or honors classes, if they still exist, become unnecessarily stressed, may seem to be academically doing well, or not, but feel disconnected from their learning experiences…because they are.

    10. By Middle School, students, who already struggle to connect with their lessons, often become so stressed about passing tests, they can/may develop anxiety or depression.

    11. DOE now mandates that student performance is tied to teachers’ salary. There are multiple legitimate reasons capable academic under/ performers don’t achieve proficiency…listed here. That being said, an exaggerated lack of public education funds reinforces student underachievement…which, then negatively, dramatically, influences teaching and skillful teacher attrition.

    12. Our capable, skillful teachers and children in our public schools in Montana will fail to achieve DOE’s mandated “4%” in increasing student proficiency in all sub-group categories of students.

    13. External and internal anti-public education vultures are/will do all they can to destroy Democrat candidates’ 2020 campaigns.

    They will lead/fund the loudest, most vicious campaign out there, brain washing citizens into accepting our public schools must be closed down and replaced by private and charter schools; along with tax credits for private school tuition.

    And, naive parents, who buy this nonsense will/may choose to either accept the trickery of “Choice” and/or “tax credits”… because they do not know that either one is designed to get parents to assist in fulfilling the extremes’ goal of ending public education.

  • Daines has already made his choice about what to follow; what Montana people need to know is the truth about this wolf in sheep clothing and vote the POS out !

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