Speaking of Veterans, here's another way Walsh is fighting for them in the Senate:As veterans’ issues and the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal put Democrats on the defensive, the outside group VoteVets will announce it’s planning to spend $5 million in competitive Senate races this year — providing Democrats some much-needed cover.
The effort begins Thursday with a $275,000 ad buy in Montana, boosting Democratic Sen. John Walsh, an Iraq war veteran.
“Being a mom to nine kids can be tough — even tougher with Andy and five others in the Marine Corps,” Loraine Tackett of Billings, Montana, says in the ad. Her son, himself an Iraq war veteran, chimes in: “Iraq vet John Walsh gets that. He supports families like ours by taking care of our troops and their families, both overseas and at home.”
The ad then takes aim at GOP Rep. Steve Daines, who won the Republican nomination Tuesday night, saying Daines “voted against raising troops’ pay and improving veterans’ health services.”
“Steve Daines is tough — tough on Montana’s military families,” the ad concludes. - Politico, 6/5/14
And here's the big reason I want Walsh to get re-elected:U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined 13 of his Senate colleagues today to introduce the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act of 2014, legislation to correct underlying problems in access to medical care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“This legislation is an important step toward restoring the confidence of our veterans and the American public,” said Kaine. “By providing the VA with direct hire authority, ensuring veterans receive timely care, and sending patients to private community providers when VA medical services are unavailable, we can begin to fix the systemic issues that have plagued the VA.”
The Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act of 2014 would give the VA authority to immediately remove senior executives based on poor job performance while preventing wholesale political firings. It would provide veterans who can’t get timely appointments with Va doctors the option of going to community health centers, military hospitals or private doctors. It would authorize emergency funding to hire new doctors, nurses and other providers in order to address system-wide health care provider shortages and to take other steps necessary to ensure timely access to care. To address the primary care doctor shortage for the long-term, the bill would authorize the National Health Service Corps to award scholarships to medical school students or to forgive college loans for doctors and nurses who go to work at the VA.
On Thursday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will consider the bill, which then could be put on a fast track for consideration by the full Senate. Virtually all of the provisions already have been approved by the Senate committee during previous legislative markup sessions.
Kaine introduced the bill with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Walsh (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). - Augusta Free Press, 6/3/14
And here are two reasons to like Walsh. First there's this:Paul Rieckhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, also urged congressional passage of the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, introduced in March by Sen. John Walsh, a Montana Democrat who received a Bronze Star for his Iraq service.
With an estimated 22 veterans taking their lives each day, Walsh’s bill would provide more suicide-prevention funds and other resources for the 1 million veterans believed to be at risk. The number of veterans seeking medical care has ballooned following the 2009 end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq and the return of most American service members from Afghanistan.
Among its demands, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans group wants improved integration of Pentagon medical records for active-duty troops and VA records for vets.
“We’ve had America’s backs,” Rieckhoff said. “Now it’s time for you to have ours.” - Stars & Stripes, 6/2/14
And even though he doesn't have a great environmental record, this is very encouraging:Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and both U.S. Senators from the state announced their support for a legal challenge filed Wednesday in federal court challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
“Montanans cherish our freedom and recognize the individual dignity of every one of us,” Bullock said in a statement. “The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate — not discriminate against — two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together.
Bullock, a Democrat, is not among the defendants listed in the complaint, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox; Michael Kadas, director of the Montana Department of Revenue; and Faye McWilliams, Clerk of Court of Cascade County. But Kadas, who was appointed to the Department of Revenue by Bullock, welcomes the lawsuit, a spokesperson said.
“While the Department is tasked with upholding our state’s tax laws, I agree with Governor Bullock — the time has come to recognize marriage between loving same-sex couples and to give those couples equality in our tax system,” Kadas said in a statement to BuzzFeed.
Along with Bullock, both of Montana’s U.S. Senators, John Walsh and Jon Tester, who are both Democrats, also came out in support of the lawsuit.
“No government should stand between two adults who are committed to each other,” Walsh said in a statement on Facebook. “After nearly 30 years together, Janet and I understand how important it is to protect this freedom for all Montanans.” - BuzzFeed, 5/21/14
We still have a shot to hold onto this seat and we need Iraq Vets like Walsh looking out for our Veterans in the U.S. Senate. Click here to donate and get involved with his campaign:The argument that the Obama administration is waging a “War on Coal” has gained new momentum with Monday’s release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on CO2 emissions from power plants. The rule attracted outrage from lawmakers, particularly those in the states most reliant on coal. But not all coal state politicians — or even all coal-heavy utilities — view the rule as an attack on their interests.
In fact, lawmakers in coal-heavy states across the country have gone so far as to laud the rule, which ranks among the most significant actions a president has ever taken on climate change. Here are a few of these lawmakers’ responses:
1. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): Montana generates 53 percent of its electricity from coal and has the largest coal reserves in the U.S., producing about 43 million tons of coal each year. But coal wasn’t the Montana resource Sen. Tester highlighted in his response to the EPA rule.
“Agriculture and outdoor recreation power Montana’s economy,” he said. “From floods to fires to beetle-killed trees, we know the consequences of the changing climate. State-based solutions that limit the effects of climate change will keep these industries and our economy strong. This responsible proposal gives states flexibility to balance the needs of today with the demands of tomorrow.”
2. Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) also said he thought reducing CO2 was a good idea, and that he would “be listening to Montanans in the coming months to make sure that any final rule from the EPA is right for Montana’s future and for Montana’s jobs now.” - Think Progress, 6/3/14