Chinese 'spy balloon fiasco' requires full review of US air defenses, Daines says at Malmstrom AFB visit
Sen. Steve Daines intends to introduce a bill to require a gap analysis of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) capabilities after a Chinese spy balloon flew over his state.foxnews.com
Biden's oil comments spark debate over energy production
Republicans in the House chamber laughed in derision at Biden's off-the-cuff remark, which was not in his scripted speech. “If we’re going to save our future, we need a transition away from dirty, expensive and deadly fossil fuels, and we need to be speeding up — not slowing down,” added Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.news.yahoo.com
Climate activists hail Dem budget spending on clean energy
Environmental groups hailed a sweeping $3.5 trillion domestic spending plan announced by Democrats, saying it would make “transformational investments” in clean energy and put the nation on a path to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
Biden nominee's link to 1989 logging sabotage blasted by GOP
President Joe Biden’s nominee to oversee federal lands in the U.S. West is facing Republican pressure to withdraw over her ties to environmental activists convicted of spiking trees to sabotage a national forest timber sale more than 30 years ago.
Democratic push to revive earmarks divides Republicans
A dirty word for many Republicans is making the rounds on Capitol Hill -- earmarks. It's a question that's vexing Republicans as they consider whether to join a Democratic push to revive earmarks, the much-maligned practice where lawmakers direct federal spending to a specific project or institution back home. Democratic appropriators in the House see a solution and are proposing a revamped process allowing lawmakers to submit public requests for “community project funding” in federal spending bills. The ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, said earmarks would not increase the amount of money spent in a bill. “That’s something I feel pretty strongly about.”Norman worries that earmarks would be used to entice Republicans to vote for bills with expensive price tags.
70 bipartisan mayors commit to conserving 30% of American lands by 2030
Seventy of the nation's mayors have endorsed a campaign dedicated to conserving 30% of America's lands, waters and oceans by 2030, an effort dubbed the 30x30 initiative. Montana Senator Steve Daines said the conservation effort "can create challenges" for ranchers and grazing authorization. Wilmot argued that Helena's majestic landscapes and dependence on tourism made deciding to support "30x30" a "no brainer." Middleton added that not since President Richard Nixon has there been a broad, White House-led conservation effort in the U.S. Jim Brainard, mayor of Carmel, Indiana, is one of four Republican mayors to sign on to the 30x30 commitment.cbsnews.com
GOP takes aim at Biden's health care pick on abortion rights
President Joe Bidens pick for health secretary is taking heat for his defense of abortion rights from a tag team of Republicans looking to define him and the new administration as out of the mainstream. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. By a show of force, they're trying to deny a president who supports abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services with the coronavirus pandemic still untamed. Becerra, 63, was a reliable Democratic vote for abortion rights during more than 20 years representing a Los Angeles-area district in the U.S. House. She disagrees with his support for abortion rights but finds common ground elsewhere.
Native American nominee's grilling raises questions on bias
The label of Haaland as a "radical" by Republican lawmakers is getting pushback from Native Americans. The exchange, coupled with descriptions of the Interior secretary nominee as “radical” — by other white, male Republicans — left some feeling Haaland is being treated differently because she is a Native American woman. “As much as I would love to see a Native American be on the president’s Cabinet, I have concerns about her record. Critics also have targeted Vanita Gupta, an Indian American and Biden’s pick to be associate attorney general, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary. That was seen in Haaland's response when asked about her motivation to be Interior secretary.
Manchin says he'll vote for Haaland for interior secretary
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the nomination of Rep. Debra Haaland, D-N.M., to be Secretary of the Interior on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland's nomination by President Joe Biden. By contrast, Manchin said Haaland had earned his vote, despite disagreements over drilling on federal lands and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Ad“I believe Deb Haaland will be a secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her,'' Manchin said in a statement. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican who is not on the energy panel, called Haaland “a neo-socialist, left-of-Lenin whack job.''
A look at how Biden's Cabinet nominees fared Tuesday
(Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's Cabinet is starting to fill out, with nominees for agriculture secretary and United Nations ambassador gaining Senate approval Tuesday. “And that’s what we intend to do.”Schumer couldn’t resist a jab at former President Donald Trump, saying that all Biden’s nominees are “undoubtedly qualified for their positions, a stark departure from the caliber of nominees the Senate was made to consider during the previous administration.”But one of Biden's nominees, Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, is clearly in trouble in the evenly divided Senate. Currently California's attorney general, Becerra appeared Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I'm not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, said, addressing Becerra. ___INTERIORRep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Interior nominee Haaland questioned on drilling, pipelines
If confirmed, Haaland, 60, would be the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The Interior Department has broad oversight over nearly 600 federally recognized tribes as well as energy development and other uses for the nation’s sprawling federal lands. AdIf confirmed as Interior secretary, "you will get to have it your way,'' Daines told Haaland. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said the GOP questions over oil drilling and pipelines revealed a partisan divide in the committee. Her mother is a Navy veteran and worked for a quarter-century at the Bureau of Indian Education, an Interior Department agency.
Interior nominee Haaland vows 'balance' on energy, climate
Native Americans have reason to believe the two-term U.S. congresswoman will push forward on long-simmering issues in Indian Country if she's confirmed as secretary of the Interior Department. Deb Haaland, a New Mexico congresswoman named to lead the Interior Department, said she is committed to “strike the right balance” as the agency manages energy development and seeks to restore and protect the nation's sprawling federal lands. Haaland's remarks are intended to rebut criticism from some Republicans who have complained that her opposition to drilling on federal lands will cost thousands of jobs and harm economies throughout the West. The Interior Department has broad oversight of tribal affairs and energy development. Her mother is a Navy veteran and worked for a quarter-century at the Bureau of Indian Education, an Interior Department agency.
Texas blackouts fuel false claims about renewable energy
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)With millions of Texas residents still without power amid frigid temperatures, conservative commentators have falsely claimed that wind turbines and solar energy were primarily to blame. “We should never build another wind turbine in Texas,” read a Tuesday Facebook post from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Still a variety of misleading claims spread on social media around renewable energy, with wind turbines and the Green New Deal getting much of the attention. AdA viral photo of a helicopter de-icing a wind turbine was shared with claims it showed a “chemical” solution being applied to one of the massive wind generators in Texas. On top of that, while Texas has ramped up wind energy in recent years, the state still relies on wind power for only about 25% of its total electricity, according to ERCOT data.
US agency cancels Trump policy on conservation purchases
Interior Department officials on Thursday canceled a Trump administration directive that gave local and state officials power to block purchases of land and water for conservation under a longstanding federal program. Trump administration officials had said the order would have allowed the government to fulfill goals that were set when conservation areas were created, by filling in missing pieces of them. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia and others for undermining the conservation program. They accused the Trump administration of using Bernhardt’s order to circumvent the intent of Congress and squandering the bipartisan goodwill created by passing last year's law. Daines welcomed the move to revoke the order and said in a Thursday statement that the program was a critical tool for conservation.
Senate panel advances EPA nominee; GOP slams Interior pick
(Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – A Senate committee has endorsed President Joe Biden's nomination of Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, setting up a vote in the full Senate. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced Regan's nomination Tuesday on a 14-6 vote. Regan, who has served as North Carolina's top environmental regulator since 2017, would be the first Black man to run the EPA. A third Biden nominee, Deb Haaland, has not yet had a hearing on her selection to lead the Interior Department. AdHe also was concerned by Haaland's responses on issues such as wildlife management and access by hunters and sportsmen to public lands, Daines said.
Several GOP senators will no longer object to Electoral College votes after rioters storm Capitol
Those claims were further fanned by more than a dozen GOP senators and dozens more Republican House members who had indicated they planned to object to certifying votes in key battleground states. Earlier in the day, the rioters interrupted the procedural meeting to count the electoral votes when they breached the Capitol building, sending lawmakers into hiding. Later, when protesters stormed the Capitol building, Cruz admonished on Twitter, "Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW. Other senators who were expected to object to the Electoral College votes shared statements on Twitter that condemned the violence, with many praising the Capitol police. Other Republicans who are allies of Trump but hadn't gone so far as to support objecting to the Electoral College votes also condemned the chaos on Capitol Hill Wednesday night.cnbc.com
Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol in bid to overturn election
Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob. Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Before dawn Thursday, lawmakers completed their work, confirming Biden won the presidential election. In the aftermath, several Republicans announced they would drop their objections to the election, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
Dividing party, Republicans poised to challenge Biden win
Eleven Republican senators saying they will not be voting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory include Wyoming's newly sworn in Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Cheyenne-area rancher and former congresswoman. It is unclear just what the Republican senators will do, but the process could drag into the night as the two chambers will have to consider each objection individually. And more than a dozen Republican senators have said they will not support the effort. Facing the criticism from many in his own party, Cruz has attempted to put a finer point on his challenge. The commission remains his focus, he has said, not to undo the election results, even though that would be the practical effect of a successful objection.
Trump says he'll 'fight like hell' to hold on to presidency
Though he got nothing but cheers Monday night, Trump's attempt to overturn the presidential election i s splitting the Republican Party. Trump himself is whipping up crowds for a Wednesday rally near the White House. Trump said in Georgia: “I hope that our great vice president comes through for us. Two current Republican senators, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah, joined the growing number who now oppose the legislators' challenge. Larry Hogan of Maryland; Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House GOP leader; and former House Speaker Paul Ryan — have criticized the GOP efforts to overturn the election.
Republicans condemn 'scheme' to undo election for Trump
Of the more than 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. Other prominent former officials also criticized the ongoing attack on election results. Cruz's coalition of 11 Republican senators vows to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launches a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results. The convening of the joint session to count the Electoral College votes has faced objections before. States choose their own election officials and draft their election laws.
Pelosi, McConnell get COVID-19 vaccine, urge others to do so
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sits and waits before being inoculated with a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot by Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician Congress of the United States in Washington, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Both Pelosi and McConnell tweeted photos of themselves receiving the vaccine from the Capitol physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan. “Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine,” Pelosi tweeted. Monahan, the Capitol physician, said that his office will follow a process to identify “continuity-essential staff members” in Congress after members have been vaccinated. He said his office would continue with appointments “until the small vaccine supply is exhausted.”___AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.
Congress closes in on a $900 billion Covid relief deal as Americans await aid
Speaking after McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said "we are close to an agreement" but noted "it's not a done deal yet." Congressional leaders closed in on a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal as millions of struggling Americans wait for help. McConnell told Republicans they should prepare to work through the weekend, according to NBC. Politico first reported that congressional leaders were near a $900 billion deal. Of course, many in Washington feel a $900 billion plan will not go nearly far enough to lift families merely scraping by during the pandemic.cnbc.com
Land conservation plan stirs fight over Trump restrictions
U.S. officials on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, released details on proposed land conservation purchases for the coming year amid bipartisan objection to restrictions on how the government's money can be spent. – Proposed land conservation purchases in dozens of states would preserve more natural areas within tourist destinations, U.S. officials announced Friday, as lawmakers from both parties pushed back on Trump administration restrictions on how the money can be spent. Bernhardt's order also limits land acquisitions to property inside the existing boundaries of parks and refuges, rather than expanding their footprint. An Interior Department official closely involved in the development of the spending plan defended Bernhardt’s order. Tester spokesman Roy Loewenstein said the senator would push the administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to quickly strike down Bernhardt's order.
GOP senator in Pfizer trial urges trust in Covid vaccines: 'This is how we bring an end to this pandemic'
This is how we bring an end to this pandemic," Daines said on "The Exchange." "The reason my wife and I participated in it is we want to help build confidence and trust in these vaccines." "So the reason I participated in this trial was because I think the vaccines are so important." The news of Pfizer and BioNTech's FDA submission arrives at a critical moment in the U.S. coronavirus pandemic. Any coronavirus vaccine approved would be limited in quantity at first.cnbc.com
Senate control hangs in balance with a few races undecided
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters during a press conference in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. “We’re waiting — whether I’m going to be the majority leader or not,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday. There already is a Jan. 5 runoff in the state's other Senate race. Securing the Senate majority will be vital for the winner of the presidency. John Hickenlooper defeated GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat Republican incumbent Martha McSally.
Democrats' Senate drive halted by GOP; key races undecided
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump’s campaign helped his GOP allies, but that state election officials were still counting ballots. Key Senate races in North Carolina, Alaska and Georgia remained undecided. Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has struggled against Democrat Cal Cunningham, despite the married challenger’s sexting scandal with a public relations strategist. GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler will face Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor at the church where the Rev.
Senate Latest: Kelly win gives Arizona 2 Democratic senators
The former astronaut defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat after McCain’s death in 2018. Daines’ first election in 2014 broke a Democratic lock on the Senate seat that had lasted more than 100 years. The six-term congressman from northern New Mexico defeated Republican Mark Ronchetti, a former television meteorologist, and Libertarian Bob Walsh. Reed cruised to victory over Waters, an investment consultant who mounted earlier unsuccessful campaigns for state Senate and U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Warner defeated Republican challenger Daniel Gade in a low-key race in which the incumbent had a massive cash advantage.
Democrats losing paths to Senate control as GOP hangs on
Republican Senate candidate Sen. Mitch McConnell, second from right, and his wife, Elaine Chao, right, look on as aides show him the election results in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)WASHINGTON – Hopes fading for Senate control, Democrats had a disappointing election night as Republicans swatted down an onslaught of challengers and fought to retain their fragile majority. Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. The Democrats' gains were in Colorado and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat GOP incumbent Martha McSally. Republican Cynthia Lummis, the former congresswoman from Wyoming, won the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mike Enzi.
Dems keep focus on public lands despite GOP legislative win
The two contests are crucial in the fight for control of the Senate, where Republicans have a 53-47 majority. “You can’t just be a supporter of public lands for four months before the election,” Montana Gov. Democrats have gained traction on a Bullock lawsuit against a senior Trump administration official with a history as an anti-public lands firebrand, Wyoming attorney William Perry Pendley. The Trump administration installed Perry as the nation’s lead public lands steward, acting head of the Bureau of Land Management, only to have a court side with Bullock and remove Pendley from the post. The court also struck down plans approved under Pendley that would have opened public lands in Montana to more oil and gas development.
‘Montana values’ could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate
Fighting to keep his seat, Republican Steve Daines is locked in a close contest with his Democratic challenger, Gov. Steve Bullock. “Those aren’t Democrat or Republican values, those are Montana values!” he yelled from a stage through wind-whipped rain to supporters in their cars at a recent Helena rally that was fashioned after a drive-in movie. The concept of “Montana values” may sound like meaningless rhetoric, but members of both parties bank on them. Democrat Jon Tester, the state’s other U.S. senator, said “Montana values” boil down to authenticity, truthfulness and hard work.latimes.com
Tom Cotton is campaigning hard, just not for reelection
– Six years after being elected in an expensive and heated race, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton is on the ballot again and he's campaigning hard — just not in Arkansas. Cotton insists his focus has been on helping fellow Republicans and the president, not on any future plans. “The campaigning I've been doing this year across the country is laying the groundwork for a Republican majority in the Senate and hopefully the president's reelection," Cotton said. Cotton has also lent his support to a proposal going before Arkansas voters that would impose new restrictions on ballot initiatives. While he's a Trump loyalist, Cotton and Trump have split on some issues, including saying he would have urged the public to wear masks earlier in the coronavirus pandemic.
Parties' late spending on Senate races shows GOP's jeopardy
Less than two weeks from an Election Day that will determine Senate control, each party is throwing late money at an up-for-grabs Democratic seat in Michigan. The Senate Majority PAC, a political committee aligned with the chamber's Democratic leaders, has canceled its remaining $1.2 million in spending against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, sensing victory. He's getting outspent 3-1,” said GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, whose retirement is making the seat available. Besides Alabama, Michigan is the GOP's best chance at gaining a seat and thwarting Democrats' drive to a Senate majority. “It matters," agreed Poersch of Democrats' Senate Majority PAC, citing a shift in voters' sentiment over the final weeks of the 2016 campaign that helped Trump edge to victory.
US Senate high stakes spur astronomical spending in Montana
– Political groups fighting for control of the U.S. Senate have poured more than $118 million into the contest between Montana's Democratic Gov. And the Montana political ad spending is almost 10 times as much per voter being spent on ads in Colorado's Senate contest between former Democratic Gov. But the main driver is the race's competitive nature and the high stakes in the Senate. “These groups that are spending, they're spending big," Bullock told The AP. The Annenberg center's Jamieson, whose grandmother homesteaded in Montana, noted that political ads have a long history in the state.
Senate Democrats' fundraising success puts GOP on defensive
(Bob Daemmrich/Nexstar/KXAN via AP, Pool)WASHINGTON – Buoyed by massive fundraising success, Democratic Senate candidates are mounting a push in Republican states that few would have thought possible just a few months ago, placing continued GOP control of the chamber at risk. MJ Hegar in Texas reported raising over $13 million during the same period for her race against Republican Sen. John Cornyn. In deep-red Kentucky, Amy McGrath has posted strong fundraising numbers against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In Mississippi, Mike Espy reported raising $4 million in his rematch against Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. O'Rourke was criticized for being too stingy with his cash, only reluctantly aiding other Democrats, though he eventually donated large amounts to the Texas Democratic Party.
McConnell tries to salvage Senate majority with court vote
Confirmation hearings are set to begin Monday for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee giving Republicans one last chance to salvage their Senate majority by wresting attention away from the White House and its COVID-19 response and onto the GOP’s longtime goal of fashioning a conservative court. Only two GOP senators balked at quick confirmation. This time, it's much about securing his own legacy reshaping the judiciary into what allies call the “McConnell Court” as giving his majority a landing pad after a tumultuous four years with Trump. Having already bent Senate rules to allow 51-vote threshold to advance Supreme Court nominees, rather than 60 as was tradition, McConnell is now poised to usher a third Trump justice to confirmation. “It’s not going to be remembered as the McConnell Court,” said Stevens.
Republican duo reshapes Montana politics in Trump's style
They worked in tandem to attain huge riches in the corporate world before leveraging that success into a political juggernaut that has reshaped the state’s Republican Party. It's a shift Montana Democrats argue is out of step with the state’s independent-minded electorate. Gianforte, one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. House, has been boosted in his run for Montana governor by Daines’ clout. Democrats as recently as 2014 held both Montana U.S. Senate seats, the governor’s mansion and a bevy of other statewide offices. Daines and Gianforte “fit the party like a glove right now,” University of Montana political analyst Rob Saldin said.
Politics mixes with law as Trump closes in on court pick
Even before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week, the president had tried to use likelihood of more Supreme Court vacancies to his political advantage. Supreme Court nominations are never entirely devoid of political considerations, but Trump’s decision has been particularly wrapped up in a charged political moment. Even before Ginsburg’s death, Trump had done the same in 2020, releasing an additional 20 names he would consider for the court, and encouraging Democrat Joe Biden to do the same. “So they don’t want to show the judges because the only ones that he can put in are far-left radicals,” Trump said this week. “If Joe Biden and the Democrats take power, they will pack the Supreme Court with far-left radicals who will unilaterally transform American society far beyond recognition,” Trump said at a rally outside Toledo on Monday.
Pence drops plan to go to fundraiser hosted by QAnon backers
– Vice President Mike Pence has canceled plans to attend a Trump campaign fundraiser in Montana following revelations that the event's hosts had expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. The change comes after the AP reported Wednesday that hosts Cayrn and Michael Borland in Bozeman, Montana, had shared QAnon memes and retweeted posts from QAnon accounts. The QAnon narrative has grown to include other long-standing conspiracy theories, gaining traction among some extreme Trump supporters. Pence has said it's a conspiracy theory and last month told CBS, “I don’t know anything about QAnon, and I dismiss it out of hand."" In April, she responded to a pro-Trump Tweet from a QAnon account by replying “Always” with a praying hands emoji.
GOP's focus on Trump leaves scant room for Congress hopefuls
This isnt a party convention, its a Trump convention, said Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist and former congressional staffer who opposes Trump. If Republicans lose the Senate in November, we should look back at this week as a lost opportunity to introduce the country to more GOP congressional candidates. Scalise made no direct reference to the GOP's faint hopes of regaining the House majority in November's elections. Sean Parnell, a GOP challenger for a Democratic-held seat in western Pennsylvania, didnt specifically ask listeners to award Republicans House control. The inattention to the GOP's congressional efforts might have changed Wednesday when Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, delivered prime-time remarks.
US high court denies bid to restore Greens on Montana ballot
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an attempt by the Montana secretary of state to restore Green Party candidates to the November ballot. Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton filed a motion Monday to halt the state Supreme Court order. Stapletons certification of the November ballot, sent to counties late Thursday, included an asterisk saying the secretary and other parties were challenging the Montana Supreme Court decision. Green Party candidates are believed to draw votes away from Democratic candidates. It was never determined who was behind the 2018 effort to get Green Party candidates on the Montana ballot.
Postal chief urges voters to request, return ballots early
Acknowledging an expected surge in mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic, DeJoy says voters should mail back their ballots at least seven days prior to the election. Trump urged a no vote, railing on Twitter against mail-in ballots expected to surge in the COVID-19 crisis. He has said he wants to block extra funds to the Postal Service. Still, there were signs of bipartisan support for the Postal Service, one of the most popular government agencies with an approval rating above 90%. Twenty-six House Republicans broke with Trump and GOP leaders to back the House bill, which passed 257-150.
Public lands chief hangs on despite nomination getting nixed
That's not how it works," Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said of the May order in an interview. Prior to joining the Trump administration, he had called for the government to sell its public lands. Interior Department spokesperson Conner Swanson confirmed that the arrangement outlined in Pendley's order means he will continue to lead the bureau. After joining the government, he declared that his past support for selling public lands was irrelevant because his boss, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, opposes the wholesale sale of public lands. Under Trump, the land bureau has sought to scale back some protections for public lands, including proposals to ease restrictions on oil and gas exploration, mining and grazing.
Public lands chief hangs on despite nomination getting nixed
"You dont want the deputy director of policy and programs being able to dictate whos in charge of the (bureau.) Its too important an agency.Interior Department spokesman Conner Swanson confirmed that the arrangement means Pendley will continue to lead the bureau. Whether another nominee will be named is up to the White House, Swanson added. The May 22 order from Pendley, which was also signed by Interior Department Assistant Secretary Casey Hammond, had specified such records were to be kept. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is seeking to topple Republican Sen. Steve Daines in the November election.
Post Office warns states across US about mail voting
Voters and lawmakers in several states are also complaining that some curbside mail collection boxes are being removed. Postal Service is sufficiently prepared to fulfill.Meanwhile, the removal of Postal Service collection mail boxes triggered concerns and anger in Oregon and Montana. All three members of Montanas congressional delegation two of whom are Republican raised concerns about the removal of mail boxes in letters sent to Postmaster DeJoy. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson said the Oregon removals were due to declining mail volume and that duplicate mail boxes were taken from places that had more than one. The Postal Service said four mail boxes were removed in Portland this week.
Trump signs $3B-a-year plan to boost conservation, parks
Supporters say the Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Opponents counter that the money isn't enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands. The law requires full, mandatory funding of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses the maintenance backlog facing Americas national parks and public lands. Supporters say the legislation will create at least 100,000 jobs, while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems. The legislation's opponents, mostly Republicans, complain it would not eliminate an estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on 640 acres (259 hectares) of federally owned lands.
Lawmakers push to extend tax filing season to July 15
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has proposed giving taxpayers until July 15 to submit their 2019 income tax returns 90 days from the original April 15 due date. The Tax Filing Relief for America Act, which Senators Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Angus King, I-Maine, are joining Thune in introducing, aims to have the filing deadline coincide with the new July 15 deadline for taxpayers to pay the IRS taxes owed for 2019. Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., are co-sponsors. But the federal agency decided to stick with the original April 15 due date for filing the returns. House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., also called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to move the federal income tax filing deadline to July 15.cnbc.com
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock launches Senate bid, a boost in Democrats' push for majority
Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, May 1, 2017. Steve Bullock launched a Senate campaign Monday, creating another potentially competitive race for a Democratic Party desperately trying to flip control of the chamber. Bullock, who ran for president in 2020, repeatedly said he would not challenge Republican Sen. Steve Daines after he left the race in December. The second-term governor won reelection in 2016 even as President Donald Trump carried his state by about 20 percentage points. Public health advocate Cora Neumann, who was running for Senate, dropped out and endorsed Bullock on Monday, according to Politico.cnbc.com
Bipartisan bill will boost wildfire protection, senators say
In 2017, a flash drought led to a record 2,200 square miles (5,665 square kilometers) being burned in Montana. It will also seek to slow or stop lawsuits that block logging projects on federal land. Daines spokeswoman Katie Schoettler did not provide details but said the bill would address a past 9th U.S. Daines and other Montana leaders say those groups have abused the legal system by filing frivolous lawsuits to stop logging projects in national forests. The groups contend the logging projects have the potential to harm the habitat of threatened and endangered species, such as the Canada lynx.chicagotribune.com