With the holidays behind us and Congress gearing up for a new session, I look forward to continuing my mission fighting for our Montana way of life in Washington, D.C. Under President Joe Biden and Democrat congressional leadership, Montanans are facing the highest inflation rate in three decades, driving up prices of everything from groceries to used cars. In addition, the wide-open southern border is allowing record amounts of fentanyl to devastate our communities, and the attacks on made in Montana and made in America energy are costing Montana jobs and raising prices at the gas pump.
As I travel across the state, there’s one question I hear over and over from Montanans – why can’t Washington get its spending under control? Since Biden took office, Democrats passed nearly $5 trillion in new spending, all at the expense of Montana taxpayers. This out-of-control spending spree supported by every single Senate Democrat has caused an inflation dumpster fire that is breaking the bank for Montana families. I stand with my Republican colleagues in opposition to this wasteful agenda and am continuing the fight to restore fiscal sanity in Washington.
Our Montana communities have also seen an uptick in violent crime and deadly drugs as President Biden’s southern border crisis rages on. My colleagues and I pleaded with the President and Democrats in Congress to secure our southern border, but they continue to turn a blind eye. As a result, every month seems to set a new record for illegal encounters and record amounts of deadly fentanyl being smuggled into our country.
Montana is a northern border state with a southern border crisis and fentanyl is wreaking havoc on our communities. In the first three quarters of 2022, Montana law enforcement seized more fentanyl off Montana streets than they did in the last four years combined. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for young adults in America and sadly, too many Montana families have been affected by this horrifying epidemic. I stand with our Montana law enforcement officers in demanding the President act now to take back control of our southern border.
In Montana we also know just how important an all-of-the-above energy portfolio is, but unfortunately, it is clear Washington bureaucrats don’t. The Biden administration declared war on made in Montana energy on Day One and has not let up since. From killing the Keystone XL pipeline to cancelling oil and gas lease sales to draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, President Biden’s energy policy, supported by many Senate Democrats, weakens our national security, raises prices for Montana families and eliminates good-paying Montana jobs.
In fact, the administration just admitted what we knew all along. When President Biden cancelled construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, he killed tens of thousands of American energy jobs and the billions of dollars that came with it. Montana can’t afford the Left’s woke, Green New Deal ideals.
I will continue to combat these radical policies in the next session of Congress while also working to find common ground.
To that end, in the last Congress, I fought to secure many bipartisan wins for Montana, including a well-deserved pay raise for our brave men and women in the military, a repeal of President Biden’s overreaching COVID-19 vaccine mandate for servicemembers, support for the mission at Malmstrom, and tax relief for Montana’s injured first responders.
As Congress returns, we’ve got work to do, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves for Montana. With the upcoming Farm Bill, I’ll be working with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure Montana ag priorities are included and Montana farmers and ranchers’ voices are heard.
Another priority of mine is passing common sense, responsible forest management provisions, like my full and permanent Cottonwood fix to stop frivolous litigation from tying up projects that protect Montana communities from wildfires and create jobs. I’ll also be continuing my fight against the big government fiscal insanity that’s holding Washington D.C. hostage – that’s why the first bill I’ll introduce in the 118th Congress is my Balanced Budget Accountability Act requiring that Congress passes a balanced budget or members won’t get paid. Because if Montanans have to balance their budget – so should Congress.
It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve Montanans in the United States Senate, and I’m looking forward to a new year of working to bring Montana values to Washington.