Key coverage in the race for U.S. Senate
Contributions by zip code: Steve Daines (R)
On the issues
Particularly as the nation deals with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, what federal action would you support to help create good, high-paying jobs for Montana workers?
The coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on every Montanan and every sector of our economy right now. That’s why I’m focused on solutions to rebuild the American economy, protect and create more Montana jobs, and end our reliance on foreign countries for life-saving drugs and personal protective equipment. With more than one third of our imported antibiotics, and 70% of personal protective equipment produced in China, this poses both a national security and health risk to our country. It’s exactly why I’m fighting to bring drug and medical supply manufacturing back home and it’s why I led the plan to speed up the development of life-savings COVID-19 drugs by months — drugs that will be made right here in America, with incredible work being done at the University of Montana to help find a coronavirus vaccine.
What separates you from your primary opponents as your party’s best candidate to represent Montana in Washington, D.C.?
Before coming to Congress, I spent 28 years in the private sector solving problems and delivering solutions. I ran operations for a major American company, joined my parents in managing the family’s Montana construction business, and helped grow a small hi-tech start-up, RightNow Technologies, into Bozeman’s largest commercial employer, creating over 500 Montana jobs.
I’m running for re-election to help President Trump rebuild our economy, protect and create more good-paying Montana jobs, and secure our health care supply chain by ending our reliance on China for critical PPE and life-saving pharmaceutical drugs.
In the rescue package passed by Congress, I secured the provision that will speed up the development of life-saving COVID-19 drugs by months and ensure these drugs are made in America. I also secured funding to save our small businesses and keep folks employed, for medical gear to protect our health care heroes, and to ensure COVID-19 testing is free for all Montanans.
If elected to the Senate, how would you attempt to bridge partisan divides to represent the concerns of Montanans who don't share your political orientation in Washington D.C.?
I graduated from MSU as a chemical engineer and spent 28 years in the private sector solving problems and creating jobs. I was trained to tackle the hard issues and that experience is why I’ve been recognized by three nonpartisan organizations as one of the most bipartisan and effective members of Congress. I brought Republicans and Democrats together in the U.S. Senate to secure permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, championed a bipartisan bill to lower the costs of prescription drugs for Montana seniors, working on a bipartisan timber production reform plan that will prevent devastating wildfires and create hundreds of good-paying Montana jobs, and passed a bill to end the NSA’s illegal collection of our phone records. I’m proud to work across the aisle to deliver these results for Montanans.
Would you have voted to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power or obstruction of justice based on the evidence presented to the U.S. Senate in his impeachment trial earlier this year? Why?
On February 2nd, I proudly voted to acquit President Donald Trump from the most partisan impeachment process in our nation’s history.
The Democrats did something that has never been done before in the 244-year history of our great country — they launched a purely partisan impeachment process. No crimes were even alleged against the president. The entire process was spun up by the Democrats who were trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election — something they’ve been obsessed with since before President Trump was sworn into office.
Montanans overwhelmingly voted to elect President Trump in 2016, and Montanans overwhelmingly opposed the impeachment and removal of President Trump from office because they saw it for what it was — a partisan sham. I will always stand with the people of this great state and proudly work alongside President Trump to put our country first, not take my orders from the liberal elites back in Washington.
Do you see reining in the federal debt as a priority? If so, how should that be accomplished? If you support new taxes, whom specifically should that burden fall on? If you support spending cuts, which specific places in the federal budget should be targeted? (We assume that working to minimize waste, fraud and abuse is a given.)
Since coming to Congress, I’ve been committed to reducing the size of government, eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse and stopping out-of-control government spending. That’s why, the first bill I’ve been fighting for every Congress has been the Balanced Budget Accountability Act, which says if members of Congress don’t pass a balanced budget, they shouldn’t get paid. It’s just common sense.
Having spent 28 years in the private sector building businesses, I know what it takes to rein in spending and balance a budget. If our Montana small businesses and families have to balance a budget every year, so should the federal government. With a nearly $25 trillion debt, it’s time we restore fiscal responsibility to this country.
Do you support keeping the Affordable Care Act in place? What if any alternate federal policies would you support to promote Montanans’ access to safe, affordable health care?
I will continue fighting for health care reform that lowers premiums and deductibles, protects pre-existing conditions, gives greater choice and delivers better access for Montanans. I will continue to fight to repeal Obamacare and fight back against those who want a complete government takeover of our health care system — that will lead to skyrocketing premiums, rationed care, and bankrupt our country.
I’m proud of my record of holding Big Pharma accountable and fighting to increase transparency in the drug-pricing system, lower drug prices, and bring more generic drugs to market. My bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act that I’m advancing through the Senate will cut drug costs by more than $100B, while saving Medicare $85B and individuals $27B — changes that are long overdue for Montanans who have been facing astronomical drug prices right now.
The health of all Montanans is my top priority, and ensuring they have access to affordable medications is critical.
Do you believe the federal government has enacted effective policies to keep Montana’s family-owned farms viable businesses? If not, which pieces of federal policy would you push to change?
Montana ag drives our economy. Unfortunately, for far too long, our farmers and ranchers have been left in the dark.
That’s why since coming to Congress, I’ve worked closely with Montana ag groups all across our state. I worked with President Trump to secure three historic trade deals with our four largest trading partners — Mexico and Canada, Japan, and China. These common-sense trade deals will put our farmers and ranchers on a level playing field with our global competitors.
As we all face the disastrous impacts of COVID-19, our farmers and ranchers are struggling. That’s why I’ve urged the DOJ to investigate price-fixing in the cattle market, called on the USDA to release $19B in relief for ag immediately, and ensured that farmers and ranchers are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
I’ll continue urging my colleagues, as well as the Trump administration, to ensure those who put food on our tables — Montana’s farmers and ranchers — are top-of-mind during this pandemic.
Should the federal government consider transferring some federally held land into state ownership?
I strongly oppose a federal lands transfer. As a fifth-generation Montanan and an avid outdoorsman and sportsman, I will always protect and expand access to our public lands.
Last year, I was proud to lead the Senate in securing permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — a critical tool for protecting our public lands in Montana.
This year, I was proud to get President Trump’s commitment to support full and permanent funding of this program at $900M and will continue to lead this fight in the U.S. Senate until it’s signed into law. Our public lands are part of our way of life, and Montanans know I will always fight to protect our public lands for generations to come.
Do you support the Montana Water Rights Protection Act implementing the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes Water Compact in its current form before Congress?
I’ve been working for years on negotiations between the tribe and all stakeholders across our state to resolve this century old dispute. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Montana Water Rights Protection Act, which permanently relinquishes 97% of CSKT’s claims, removes the threat of costly litigation, and protects the water rights of all Montanans. This bipartisan bill will save taxpayers over $400M compared to previous proposals and the Trump administration has expressed their full support for the need to ratify the compact and permanently settle this issue once and for all. I look forward to continuing to listen and work with all stakeholders to resolve this issue while also making sure that we always protect property rights for all Montanans.
Stay tuned for more
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