Welcome to Wednesday – It’s time for another potpourri edition! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into a “potpourri” column. Today I provide that valuable independent commentary you’ve come to love from The Western Word about:
- Medicaid Expansion & the Montana Legislature
- U.S. Senators Jon Tester & Robert Menendez
- Former Governor Tim Babcock
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul
- Affordable Care Act
It was an action-packed day in the Montana Legislature with a hearing held on SB 405, which is a compromise attempt to expand Medicaid in Montana. According to a story from the Associated Press:
The House Human Services Committee led by conservative Republicans voted 10-7 along party lines to move Senate Bill 405 to the House floor with the adverse report after a 4½-hour hearing. That move means 60 representatives would have to vote to reject the recommendation in order for the bill to be debated and put to a vote.
I have written before that when bills are defeated along a party-line vote it usually means it’s more about politics than anything else. The far-right Republicans in the Montana House of Representatives are an embarrassment to the state.
The fight continues today – this time in the Rules Committee. At noon today they will discuss “silver bullets” and if they can be used in this situation. Unfortunately the “silver bullets” in the Montana Legislature have nothing to do with beer.
Tester & Menendez:
Montana’s senior Senator, Jon Tester, received donations from New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. Menendez was recently indicted for corruption. The Great Falls Tribune asked readers, “Should Sen. Jon Tester return $10,000 from a PAC associated with New Jersey senator Robert Menendez?”
The results are in with 83% saying “Yes” and 17% saying “No.”
I doubt Tester will worry too much about this poll, but the Montana GOP will have something more to e-mail their supporters.
Former Gov. Tim Babcock:
It was a sad day for Montanans yesterday when it was announced that Former Gov. Tim Babcock had passed away at age 95. I met the Governor many times over the years and he was always a statesman, and he had a wealth of knowledge about local, state, and national politics.
Tim Babcock was the one person that candidates wanted in their corner when they were running for office.
In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he is running for President. He joins U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) as the only major candidates who have announced their intentions.
Gallup polling released an interesting poll yesterday. The poll revealed:
As U.S. Sen. Rand Paul officially began his quest for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, nearly seven in 10 Republicans (68%) are familiar with the freshman senator from Kentucky. Paul also enjoys a positive image within the party: A majority of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Paul (51%) while 17% view him unfavorably, for a net favorable score of +34.
I highly doubt that Paul or Cruz will become President. With those two candidates being in the race, the GOP field slants way more to the right. You can visit the Rand Paul for President website HERE. The Ted Cruz for President website can be found HERE.
Affordable Care Act:
Gallup polling has been tracking the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and released their latest poll results yesterday. The most recent polling found:
Americans’ views about the Affordable Care Act are more positive now than they were last fall, although overall attitudes remain more negative than positive. Half of Americans now disapprove of the 2010 law, while 44% approve — the narrowest gap since October 2013.
So far, the highest percentage who approved of the ACA was 48%. The highest percentage who disapproved of the ACA has been 55%.