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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Senators On Mueller Report, Climate Change

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

Montana’s senior Senator says Americans deserve to see special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report to make up their own minds.

While Mueller’s report found President Donald Trump’s campaign did not collude with the Russian government, Attorney General Bill Barr made headlines asserting there isn’t sufficient evidence Trump obstructed justice.

This has incensed congressional Democrats, including Jon Tester.

“Why? Because I don’t think this is a Democrat thing or a Republican thing. And what are you afraid of? If there’s nothing in it, release it.”

The Republican members of Montana’s delegation, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte expressed relief at the conclusion of Mueller’s lengthy investigation. Daines says he also hopes the report is "made as public as possible in accordance with the law and national security."

The U.S. Senate meanwhile, blocked the Green New Deal Tuesday. That resolution aims for net-zero domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Some provisions, including one to transition the nation away from airplane travel, have been widely ridiculed.

Sen. Steve Daines who voted against the resolution, described it Tuesday as a “socialist wish list that has nothing to do with conservation or the environment."

Sen. Jon Tester joined 43 Democrats in voting ‘present’ Tuesday, meaning they did not take a formal position.

“I would absolutely welcome a debate on climate change," Tester says. "I think it’s important. We’re a big coal state, but we never, ever come back here and talk about how we can reduce CO2 by developing better technology, by getting buy-in from the industry, by utilizing taxpayer dollars in a more effective way…it is an issue, that by the way if we don’t deal with it today in a responsible manner our kids and grandkids should never forgive us for it.”

The Senate’s Republican majority forced Tuesday’s vote to turn the Green New Deal into a wedge issue ahead of the next year’s election.

Democrats, including Jon Tester, describe the move as a sham – and a risky one itself given how many voters are concerned by the climate change issue.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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