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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Tester, Daines vote on party lines on Democrats' climate and tax plan

Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Sen. Steve Daines (R)

Montana’s two U.S. Senators split their votes on the Democrats’ economic and climate package that squeaked out of the upper chamber this weekend.

Democratic unity for the $740 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” held, with Vice President Kamala Harris eventually casting the deciding vote to break Sunday’s 50-50 tie.

The measure includes the largest-ever federal spending package on climate change, caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare, and extends expiring subsidies that help millions of people afford health insurance.

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester voted to support the measure, saying in a statement afterwards it will reduce the national debt, cut prescription drug prices, and unleash American energy, all “without raising taxes on working Montanans.”

Republican Senator Steve Daines, on the other hand, characterized it Sunday as a “reckless tax and spend plan.” Daines voted against it, saying it will raise energy costs and “supersize” the IRS.

According to the Associated Press, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will reduce the national debt by about $305 billion over the next decade and have a minor effect on surging consumer prices.

Montana’s lone U.S. representative, Republican Matt Rosendale, has announced he will oppose it when the bill lands in the House.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.
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