I have been saying for a while we need to keep Walsh in the Senate because of his experience in Iraq. He has been making tackling veteran suicide rates big issue and he understands what our current troops are going through and the situation in Iraq. It's why we have to keep him in the Senate. He's also been doing an excellent job when it comes to Native American affairs:The only military veteran of the Iraq war serving in the Senate said Wednesday that the financial and personal costs of sending U.S. troops back into Iraq would be too great and that Iraqis -- not Americans -- need to rise up to defend their own country.
Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) once served as adjutant general of the Montana National Guard and led more than 700 soldiers in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. The former lieutenant governor came to the Senate earlier this year as the successor to former senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
As the most junior senator in the Senate, Walsh is rarely seen or heard from, but Wednesday he delivered the Democratic counterargument to Republicans who in recent days have urged President Obama to use military action to target fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other insurgents.
The Pentagon’s top leaders warned Wednesday that airstrikes in Iraq would be fraught with complications and suggested that a rush to take such action could backfire.
In a speech Wednesday afternoon, Walsh agreed. With his son, Michael, who also served in Iraq, watching from the Senate Gallery, Walsh read aloud the names of the four men from his unit who were killed in action during the war. "There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of those men and their families," he said.
"America cannot afford another Iraq financially or the human costs that are associated with war," he said later. "We did our job there, and we did it with honor and integrity, and our men and women should be very proud of their success, and the citizens of this country should be proud of the accomplishments of the men and women who served in our armed forces." But sending U.S. troops "into the middle of a civil war is not a solution," he said. - Washington Post, 6/18/14
Personally, I think we have a serious shot at holding onto this seat and keeping Walsh in the Senate. Recent polling showing Tea Party Congressman Steve Daines (R. MT) with a big lead over Walsh but here's something to take into account with this polling:Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is tired of hearing excuses about why it has taken so long for money from the $3.4 billion Cobell trust settlement to make it into the hands of Native Americans.
Yes, an initial payment of copy,000 went out to Indian class members December 2012; but since then Walsh says the Department of the Interior has been sluggish in helping get the second payment out by timely verifying those who are eligible. And Interior, he notes with added chagrin, has also received much tribal criticism regarding its slow progress in carrying out the copy.9 billion land buy-back component of the deal that’s supposed to reduce land fractionation on many reservations.
Walsh introduced legislation in May that’s intended to both speed up the second payment and strengthen the buy-back program, allowing more tribal control over it and placing the money in an interest-bearing account that would grow more money for Indian country.
In a recent interview with Indian Country Today Media Network, Walsh expanded on his Cobell concerns:
Since you introduced your legislation, there has been some positive movement from Interior speeding up land buy-back offers to tribes. Are you disappointed that you had to introduce such legislation in the first place?
I am. The people believed that this settlement was moving forward. I’m disappointed in the administration’s actions to not carry out in good faith what was supposed to happen.
Who should be faulted?
The Department of the Interior.
Did you communicate with the Department before introducing your legislation?
No, I didn’t. You know one of the first trips that I took after I was sworn in [in February], Sen. [Jon] Tester [D-Mont.] and I traveled around visiting with the different tribes. These were issues that were brought up on numerous occasions. When we came back and talked about it, I felt we need to do something. So we introduced the legislation.
What were your Native constituents telling you?
First of all, they were concerned that this money was just sitting there. It isn’t drawing interest. And as it is right now, if the money isn’t allocated in 10 years, it will go back to the Department of Treasury. There is a lot of concern from Indian country that the timeline will not be met, and the money will be lost.
What’s your understanding of why the Department of the Interior has been taking longer than you would like on these matters?
They didn’t have a process in place to distribute the resources. That’s one of the things this bill does. There is already a process here. It just isn’t being used. It’s called the 638 contracting process. My bill would allow Interior to use the 638 process to distribute these funds. This process would give the tribes more buy-in and control, and then things would go much better and smoother. - Indian Country Media Network, 6/18/14
He's also been making a big stink about this:House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary election loss Tuesday has thrown into question the most recent poll placing Montana's Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines comfortably ahead of Democratic Sen. John Walsh by 23 points.
Few expected the second most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives to lose to unknown tea party candidate Dave Brat. Cantor had his incumbency, support from big-name Republicans and more campaign cash — $5 million vs. $200,000.
Cantor's internal polling showed him leading 62 to 38 over Brat at the end of May. Another survey of likely Virginia voters by polling firm Vox Populi showed a dip in Cantor's numbers but still showed Cantor with a 52-41 lead.
A more recent Vox Populi poll showed Daines holding the support of 56 percent of voters compared to Walsh's 33 percent in Montana's U.S. Senate race.
“Just because they missed the primary in Virginia's seventh does not mean they are wrong here,” said MSU political science professor David Parker, who analyzes Montana political races. “But I have to couch that by saying Vox Populi's poll in particular was designed to favor the Republican.”
For example, questions on Daines' favorability were missing from the poll. The poll also did not include questions about Libertarian candidate Roger Roots but did have a biased question regarding Walsh's position on the Keystone pipeline, Parker said.
Walsh spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua had a different take: “Montanans don't put stock in Washington polls, much less fake ones.”
Passalacqua said Democratic voter turnout often surpasses what polls predict and that some were taken before the Walsh campaign began airing TV ads. - Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 6/11/14
And Daines' bill would help him live up to his nickname, "Shutdown Steve":Montana's Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines has introduced legislation to effectively block President Barack Obama’s proposed environmental regulations that would cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The bill, HR 4850, would stop the EPA's regulations from taking effect until the government certifies that the regulations would not cost jobs, harm gross domestic product or raise electricity rates.
“Montanans rely on coal to provide good, high-paying jobs, deliver affordable electricity to our families and to fund our schools, libraries and parks. President Obama's war on coal is a war on Montana's economy, workers and families,” Daines said in a prepared statement.
“This common sense bill protects Montanans from job losses and increased energy prices that would result from the EPA's job-killing regulations. I will keep fighting against regulations that squeeze the middle class and make life more difficult for Montana families who depend on coal and all that it provides for our state.”
Obama's proposed environmental rules aim to reduce power plant emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. There are more than 600 coal-fired power plants in the United States.
The EPA rule, which allows each state to come up with their own way to meet the goal, will be finalized a year from now after public comment.
Daines' bill is the House version of the “Coal Country Protection Act” introduced by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Daines, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is the third largest recipient of campaign donations from the coal mining industry, with $63,850 reported in the current election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. - Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 6/17/14
Walsh, who doesn't have a perfect environmental record, has welcomed the EPA's new rules. There's a lot at stake here and with money coming in from the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove, we need to help Walsh get ready for November. Click here to donate and get involved with Walsh's campaign:The likelihood of a partial shutdown depends on how much Republicans are willing to bet on obstructing climate change action. Polls suggest it could be a risky fight headed into the midterm elections: A recent Bloomberg survey found nearly two-thirds of Americans are willing to pay more for electricity if it means curbing pollution. The GOP got clobbered in the polls during the last government shutdown. Do they want to try it again in order to take on something that most of the public supports?
A partial shutdown to the Interior and EPA might seem like it would cause less damage to the GOP than the full-scale shutdown of 2013. But remember that includes national parks, which was one of the most visible and unpopular consequences from last year’s shutdown. And the EPA is charged with a lot besides fighting climate change, like protecting our drinking water and overseeing cleanup of toxic waste sites.
With a little over three months until the September 30 fiscal year deadline, there are any number of ways this can play out, especially if there is a shift in the leadership’s strategy or a short-term compromise. Members of the House have already introduced bills that target the EPA’s coal plant on several fronts. One bill from Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) would require four other federal agencies to certify the rule has no effect on jobs or electricity. Another bill from Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia would also roll back the EPA’s rulemaking so coal plants can pollute freely.
Neither of these measures have much chance to move beyond the House. In fact, congressional Republicans are limited in their power to obstruct the EPA rule entirely. Short of amending the Clean Air Act—which would need signing by the president—Congress can’t take back the authority it granted the EPA to regulate the biggest single source of greenhouse gas pollution. - The New Republic, 6/16/14