MTPR

Jon Tester

Josh Burnham

Senator Jon Tester is ripping the new Senate health care bill, Senator Steve Daines says he needs more time to study it.

In a press release, Democrat Tester said, “This pig just got more lipstick, but still smells like a pigpen.” He said the bill will rip away coverage from thousands of Montanans, deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and impose a, quote, “age tax” on people in their 50s and 60s.

Interim Indian Health Service Director Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee
YouTube

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester wants to know how the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget will affect the Indian Health Service.

So, on Wednesday Tester turned to the troubled agency’s new acting director, Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee for answers.

It didn’t go well.

Weahkee could not explain how much money IHS is billing Medicaid to help keep the agency running.

(PD)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll have an updated health care bill ready Thursday for the legislative body to work on.

In a press call with reporters, Montana’s Democratic  Senator Jon Tester said he’s willing to work with Republicans on compromise health care legislation.

Rosendale Uncommitted On 2018 Senate Race

Jul 12, 2017
Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matthew Rosendale.
Montana Legislature

Montana’s Republican commissioner of securities and insurance won't say he’s going to challenge Democrat Jon Tester for Montana’s Senate seat that's up for grabs in 2018 – but Matt Rosendale also isn’t saying he won't run.

On Monday the Washington, D.C. news source Roll Call reported that the GOP is, "waiting on Rosendale in Montana’s Senate Race."

John Goodnow is the CEO of Benefis Health System, Montana's second-largest, in Great Falls
Eric Whitney

The CEO of one of Montana's largest hospitals says Republicans are helping to create the instability that’s causing insurance companies to leave the federal health care exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System in Great Falls, said Republican talk about reducing subsidies that help people buy coverage is a, quote, "slick trick" to ensure the exchanges will fail.

Commentary: Fight For What Really Matters

Jul 3, 2017

Too often, policy debates in Washington, D.C. devolve into partisan fistfights. Each side becomes so focused on landing a punch that they forget why they climbed into the ring in the first place.

Just a few years ago, one in five Montanans did not have access to health insurance, and people couldn’t afford to get sick.

Daines, Tester Voice Their Thoughts On GOP Healthcare

Jun 30, 2017

 

Members of Congress are home for their 4th of July recess without voting on the Republican’s health care proposal.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester held a digital town hall Tuesday night to answer questions about the Republican health care proposal awaiting action in the U.S. Senate.

The hour long Facebook live event came hours after Senate Republican leaders announced a delay on the vote for their long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”. 

Josh Burnham

Both of Montana’s senators will host virtual town halls this week ahead of the U.S. Senate vote on its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A fourth Montana Republican has filed to run for U.S. Senate in 2018. Ron Murray of Belgrade filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on June 17.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports that Kalispell state Sen. Albert Olszewski, Scott Roy McLean of Missoula and Troy Downing of Big Sky are also running for the Republican nomination.

Big Sky Pride kicks off today in Billings. It’s the first time in nine years that the state’s annual pride festivities will take place in our region’s largest urban center. YPR’s Brie Ripley spoke with members of the festival planning committee about the festival’s history and what folks can expect from this weekend’s celebration.

Montana Insurers Propose Rate Increases From 2 - 23 Percent
(PD)

More than 70,000 Montanans would lose health coverage under the health care bill being considered by Congress, and the state would lose $4.8 billion in federal funding.

Montana’s congressional delegation offered responses to the shooting at the congressional baseball practice today.

Montana Republican Party buttons
Flickr user, llP Photo Archive (CC-by-2.0)

Montana’s Republican party meets Friday and Saturday to select new leadership. It’s trying to expand on big gains it made in 2016 and this year, and rebound from recent damage to its public image.

Senator Daines Urged To Protect Medicaid

Jun 6, 2017
Naomi Gerheim spoke at the event Tuesday
Edward O'Brien

About fifty people gathered Tuesday at the Missoula office of Montana Senator Steve Daines. Their message was loud and clear.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox today confirmed reports that he will not run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018. Despite courtship from national Republican leaders, Fox says he will not campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jon Tester.

Senator Jon Tester listens to Barb Korenberg from Missoula Skin Care Center at a veterans health care forum in Missoula Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The Veterans health system in Montana is preparing to roll out a new effort aimed at fixing problems with the troubled “Veterans Choice” program.

Choice, launched by Congress in 2014, was supposed to help vets who live far from from VA facilities, or who have waited more than 30 days for care, get appointments in the private sector faster. It has been called a failure by many, although some vets have reported that Choice has improved their care.

U.S. Congressman-Elect Greg Gianforte
Bree Zender

Reactions to Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault last night for allegedly attacking newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs is rolling in.

At 10 a.m., Republican Senator Steve Daines tweeted “Greg Gianforte needs to apologize.”

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

The U.S. Department of Education will now reconsider the University of Montana’s grant application for a low-income college prep program.

UM’s application for Upward Bound requested just under $2 million to fund the program for 75 students from this year through 2022. But it was rejected because of a technicality; one page was single-spaced, instead of double-spaced.

Libertarian candidate for U.S. House Mark Wicks (L) was in Kalispell last weekend inviting his supporters to show off their "ugly trucks."
NIcky Ouellet

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist rallied supporters in Kalispell this weekend with the help of Senator Jon Tester. Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks was in Kalispell too, inviting his backers to show off their ugly trucks. Nicky Ouellet reports.

Montana is home to over 150 gun manufacturers, the highest number per capita in the nation.
PD

The United States is a big player in the global arms trade, and nationwide, Montana is pretty into the gun business, it has the highest number of licensed gun manufacturers per capita of any state.

But not very many Montana guns are sold overseas. Montana’s Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are trying to change that for people like Peter Noreen.

Methane flaring.
WildEarth Guardians (CC-BY-ND-ND-2)

The U.S. Senate could not muster enough votes Wednesday to undo rules designed to reduce methane pollution.

Senators voted 51-49 Wednesday against an attempt to eliminate an Obama-era rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas production facilities on federal and tribal lands.

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Montana’s senior U.S. senator is calling for a special investigator to look into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Bill Proposes Permanent Ban On Mining Near Yellowstone

Apr 25, 2017
Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has introduced legislation to permanently ban new mining in an area of Montana just outside Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Democrat says responsible natural resource development is an important part of Montana's economy but the doorstep of Yellowstone is one place that should be protected.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

President Trump signed a bill today to temporarily extend a troubled program designed to allow veterans to get medical care in the private sector.

It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a bill extending the program intended to speed veterans' access to health care beyond its original August end point.

What does the Kansas congressional election have to do with Montana's House race? Will the upcoming visits by Donald Trump Jr. and (possibly) Bernie Sanders, help the candidates? Mail-only voting looks dead in the Legislature, where passage of a gas tax hike looks likely and infrastructure funding and bonding are still being debated. And in 2018 election news, Jon Tester has a Republican challenger in the Senate race. These stories an more on this episode of "Capitol Talk."

Kalispell Republican Enters 2018 Senate Race

Apr 11, 2017
State Senator Albert Olszewski announced that he'll challenge Sen. Tester in the 2018 Elections.
Montana Legislature

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has his first challenger in the 2018 Montana elections. Republican state Sen. Albert Olszewski said today he will run for Tester's seat.

Olszewski is an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Kalispell. He served one term in the state House from 2015-2017, and is in his first term in the state Senate.

Can the governor's amendatory veto bring back the mail ballot option for the special election? We parse Quist's new TV ads and his decision not to participate in a public broadcasting statewide debate. We also discuss what Gianforte gains or loses by keeping a low profile. Then we look at how Tester's Gorsuch vote might affect his re-election chances next year. Finally, we remember the well-respected former Helena legislator Mignon Waterman who died this week.

Montana Senator Jon Tester.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sen. Jon Tester released a statement to the press Sunday, saying that after "thoughtful deliberation, late nights, and the counsel of thousands of Montanans," he's decided he "cannot support the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch."

Gorsuch is President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

You can read Sen. Tester's statement on the Gorsuch nomination here.

Pages