“When I was elected to Congress,” Sen. Steve Daines wrote last year, “the people of Montana sent a clear message: They wanted more jobs and less government.”
Through two years in the House and more than four in the Senate, he has acted on that message, grounded by the guiding principles of growing Montana’s economy, strengthening our communities and breaking down barriers to opportunity.
Across a range of issues – making our criminal justice system smarter on crime and softer on taxpayers, reducing burdensome regulations, expanding trade, lowering the tax burden and reining in overspending – Daines has worked to empower all Montanans.
Nowhere is that focus on opportunity more crucial than on trade.
Daines understands the centrality of trade for the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Montana residents.
“We must avoid a major trade war, pure and simple,” he has argued, because the consequences for Montana’s ranchers, farmers and families would be severe.
And he has done more than just talk about it. Daines urged the president to restart talks on the Trans Pacific Partnership and supported legislation to give Congress a greater say on tariff policy. Tariffs are taxes and Daines knows who pays them: Montanans.
Expanding trade is about expanding jobs and economic growth, which requires the elimination of barriers to opportunity.
Daines has met that challenge on multiple fronts.
He has worked to empower job creators by supporting regulatory reform and eliminating needless red tape.
He was a vocal supporter of the Trump administration’s move to reverse the Waters of the U.S. rule, which Daines termed “absurd” and “overreaching.”
“The reach of the Army Corps and the EPA literally into the pastures and the farmland of Montana was outrageous,” he said, explaining the repeal “strikes the right balance” and “marks the beginning of restoring private property rights while protecting our environment.”
The reach of government is most obvious in how it spends our money. On that score, Daines has been a true champion of taxpayers.
He opposed the massive March 2018 bill that increased federal spending by 13 percent, calling it a “fiscal disaster that will take us deeper into debt and threaten our economy.”
He has supported reforming welfare programs so they become “a springboard to work and self-support, not a sinkhole into government dependency.” And he introduced legislation that would provide “a pathway to equip every working age American with the skills and resources they need to find and keep a job.”
For our state’s many veterans, one barrier has been getting the care they’ve earned when and where they need it. Daines cosponsored the VA MISSION Act, which is giving more veterans more options about where they seek health care. This is absolutely crucial to Montana, where distances are vast and we are tied for the second-highest veteran population per capita in the nation.
Through it all, Daines has been willing to stick his neck out politically to advance the causes he believes in. The policies he champions serve to bridge divides and build respect for all Montanans, while his commitment to civil discourse helps find common ground. We should send him back to the Senate to continue building bridges and eliminating barriers.
David Herbst is a senior advisor to Americans for Prosperity Action.