In The News


Defense News: US Air Force Will Hold Competition for Huey Replacement

The US Air Force is moving forward with a "full and open" competition to replace the entire fleet of UH-1N Huey helicopters, according to the service. The announcement ends months of speculation that the Air Force would bypass a competition altogether, instead buying Sikorsky's UH-60 Black Hawks to replace the Hueys for both the VIP transport mission and the job of guarding the nation's nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. But the rotorcraft industrial base has pushed back on th… Continue Reading


CQ: Members Vow Floor Fights Over Helicopters

Members in both chambers are preparing amendments to defense bills that would force the Air Force to start replacing aging helicopters that can no longer protect U.S. nuclear missiles from a possible terrorist attack. An amendment to the House defense authorization bill (HR 4909) by Montana Republican Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, would put the screws to the Pentagon's new initiative, announced May 11, to hold a competition to replace the Hueys. No more than 75 percent of the Defense secretar… Continue Reading


The Hill: Steve Daines: Not your average lawmaker on Snapchat

As a fifth-generation Montanan, Republican Sen. Steve Daines has spent quite a bit of time outdoors. When he isn't busy pushing legislation in D.C., he's back home working with constituents and spending his free time in nature. Like an increasing number of fellow legislators, Daines uses Snapchat to connect with his constituents when he's on and off the road. His snaps, under the handle @SteveDaines, have garnered acclaim from those inside of the Beltway and out, and he has even earned recognit… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: Military considering Army helicopters for temporary ICBM security

Since the Air Force has decided to use the normal open competition acquisition process for replacing the UH-1N Hueys flown at Malmstrom Air Force Base and other intercontinental ballistic missile bases, Sen. Steve Daines has continued to ask the military to activate the National Guard to provide security with its Black Hawk helicopters. Daines told the Tribune that he again suggested the idea to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James during their Wednesday meeting and that she seemed rece… Continue Reading


CQ: EXCLUSIVE: Members Torn Over Proposed Helicopter Competition

The Air Force announced Wednesday evening it is "moving forward with a full and open competition" to replace its aging fleet of UH-1N Huey helicopters, including several dozen that are no longer capable of adequately responding if terrorists attack U.S. nuclear missiles. The decision to initiate a contest for more than $2 billion in helicopters was first reported by CQ. The proposal could bring to a boil an already simmering congressional debate over how to obtain new choppers for the mission.… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: AF makes decision on helicopter replacement

The Air Force has decided to go with a normal acquisition process to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters flown at Malmstrom Air Force Base and other intercontinental ballistic missile bases. In a statement, the Air Force said Wednesday that it is "moving forward with a full and open competition for the replacement of the entire UH-1N fleet, which is consistent with the fiscal year 2017 President's Budget Request." Based on a request from the U.S. Strategic Command commander, the Air Force propo… Continue Reading


E&E: Lawmakers mobilize against corps for rejecting export terminal

Republicans and other pro-coal lawmakers attacked the Army Corps of Engineers yesterday for deciding to kill a proposed export facility in Washington state that proponents hoped would ship the fuel from Western mines to Asian markets. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) accused the administration of ignoring the needs of his state and its mines. And Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) said he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a trove of documents related to the Army Corps' review of the so-called Ga… Continue Reading


KMMS: Daines Introduces Rural Water Projects Legislation

Senator Steve Daines today introduced legislation that would move Montana rural water projects forward and ensure the completion of authorized projects across Montana. The Western Water Supply and Planning Enhancement Act is a bill that would help improve the efficiency of existing water supply infrastructure, ease the regulatory burden on new projects and protect water rights that are critical to the prosperity of the western United States. "If I told you that today, over 22,000 Montanan's … Continue Reading


Billings Gazette: Army Corps rejects shipping port for Crow coal

A proposed Puget Sound shipping terminal for Montana coal is dead after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied it a permit Monday. Citing the fishing rights of the nearby Lummi Nation, Corps Col. John Buck determined that as currently proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal could not be permitted. Valued at $700 million, the port was to be located near Ferndale, Wash. The Lummi Nation had cited treaty rights in January 2015 when it asked the Army Corps to reject the project. "Today was… Continue Reading


KTVQ: Army Corps denies permit for Washington coal export terminal

A decision Monday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could spell the end to a controversial coal export terminal proposed near Ferndale, Washington. Colonel John Buck, commander of the Army Corp's Seattle District, announced the decision at a meeting with Lummi Tribal leaders, saying the Gateway Pacific project would impact "treaty protected fishing rights" of Washington's Lummi Nation,. The $700 million dollar Gateway Pacific Terminal was a proposed deep-water port to be located just north… Continue Reading


Flathead Beacon: Tester, Daines Rally Bipartisan Support for Rural County Funding Program

Montana's two U.S. Senators have joined a bipartisan coalition pushing to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program, which aids counties where most of the land is owned by the federal government and therefore does not create any tax revenue. The program, which in 2014 doled out more than $300 million, expired in late 2015 and the last authorized payments were sent to rural counties earlier this spring. The program is especially critical in places like Lincoln County, where the U.S. Forest Se… Continue Reading


KTVH: Montana strikes deal with feds allowing firefighting helicopters on federal land

(HELENA) Montana struck a deal with the feds allowing Montana's five firefighting helicopters to respond to fires on federal land. Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says that this agreement allows the helicopters to be used when lives are at risk or when the Governor declares a wildfire emergency. In 2015, state owned helicopters were not allowed to help due to policy issues. The state modified helicopters to comply with U.S. Forest Service regulations, but were still no… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: Daines, staff visit VA equine therapy program

Sen. Steve Daines and members of his staff toured the Montana Department of Veterans Affairs Equine Therapy Center near Helena on Thursday and learned about how the program helps veterans statewide. "We're here to look at therapy that helps out veterans and experience it myself," he said. The Montana VA Equine Therapy Center is the only center of its kind in the country and operated by the Montana VA. The facility specializes in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, which uses horses for mental, phy… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: Daines asks AF to use Guard helicopters for nuclear security

While the Air Force is making a decision about replacing UH-1N Huey helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Sen. Steve Daines has requested that the Air Force consider using National Guard helicopters in the meantime. The Montana Army National Guard has eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters based at Fort Harrison in Helena, and Daines, R-Mont., has asked the Air Force to consider using those to augment the existing Hueys at Malmstrom. The helicopters are used by the 40th Helicopter Squadron, whi… Continue Reading


CQ: Lawmakers: Call in National Guard to Protect Nuclear Missiles

Lawmakers are pressing the Air Force to use National Guard helicopters as soon as possible to protect nuclear missile facilities that are potentially vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Defense Department officials acknowledge that an aging fleet of nearly three dozen UH-1N Huey helicopters - a 911 force in the northern Great Plains -lacks the speed, range and payload capabilities to respond effectively if U.S. missile launchers were attacked. The Air Force conceded this week that the Pentagon st… Continue Reading


Inside Defense: Senate lawmaker seeks clarity from Air Force on GBSD time line

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) has requested a meeting with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to discuss the milestone A review for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent System, congressional sources told Inside the Air Force this week. Daines previously questioned why the Air Force had not reached its milestone A decision for the Minuteman III's replacement during an April 20 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall. Kendall assured Daines that GBSD's… Continue Reading


Sen. Daines: The lasting legacy of late U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns

With the news of Conrad Burns' passing late last week, Montanans lost a member of the family. From across the state, prayers were offered for Phyllis and the Burns family and fond memories were shared. Conrad was a dedicated husband to Phyllis and father to Garrett and Keely. He was an auctioneer, a high school referee, an agriculture broadcaster and founder of Northern Ag Network, a county commissioner, a U.S. senator and always a U.S. Marine. He loved his family, he loved Montana and he loved… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: Great Falls facility name changed to honor Medal of Honor recipients

President Barack Obama has signed legislation changing the name of the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Great Falls to the Capt. John E. Moran and Capt. William Galt Armed Forces Reserve Center to honor the Montana men who received the Medal of Honor. Both houses of Congress passed legislation for the name change earlier this spring. Moran served in the Army's 37th Infantry during the Philippine-American War and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1910 and died in Great Falls in 1930. Galt of Gr… Continue Reading


Helena Independent Record: Daines backs bill encouraging timber in tall buildings

Sen. Steve Daines has co-sponsored a bill to push more research and development on using wood for tall building construction. The Timber Innovation Act, S. 2892, was authored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. It will be heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Fellow Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Maria Cantwell of Washington also co-sponsored the bill. The bill would look for ways to use timber… Continue Reading


Great Falls Tribune: Former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns dies

Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, a former cattle auctioneer whose folksy demeanor and political acumen earned him three terms and the bitter disdain of his opponents, died Thursday. He was 81. Burns died of natural causes at his home in Billings, Montana Republican Party Executive Director Jeff Essmann said. "He was a colorful figure who loved people, politics and to serve," Essmann said. "He brought a common-man, common-sense approach to his work in the Senate and returned to his home in Bil… Continue Reading

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