Tester criticizes Postal Service execs for refusing lower pay

FEBRUARY 28, 2012

Senator questions executive salaries as Postal Service considers drastic cuts


(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is taking the leaders of the U.S. Postal Service to task, demanding that executives be willing to cut their own salaries as they propose cuts to the nation’s mail service.


Tester said that if senior postal executives were willing to cut mail delivery standards and close rural post offices, they should also be willing to “forgo bonuses or reduce salary.”  


The Postal Service’s Board of Governors recently told Tester that cutting the salaries of its top employees would have a “chilling effect on the management of the organization.”  Although the Postal Service is struggling financially, the Postmaster General last year earned $800,000 in pay and benefits.


Tester responded by pointing out that the heads of both the Treasury and Defense departments – facing their own difficult challenges – earn much less than they might in the private sector.


“Civil servants, like the Postmaster General, have unique public responsibilities and sacrifices inherent to their positions,” Tester wrote the Postal Service’s Board of Governors.  “The reality is that many of our government’s senior leaders share this distinctive burden.  Public service is uniquely different [from the private sector] and the Postal Service must rise to meet that expectation.”


Tester also took issue with the Board of Governors for suggesting that the Postal Service is a “private enterprise whose operations should be dictated solely by the private marketplace.” 


‘The Postal Service is a public entity with unique service requirements that are critical to rural America,” Tester wrote.  “Yet the Service’s plans to erode service standards, close facilities and thus reduce its own effectiveness suggest that this public requirement is lost on the Board of Governors and senior executives of the Postal Service.”


The Postal Service in August announced plans to consider closing 85 Montana post offices, and more recently recommended consolidating mail processing facilities in Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Wolf Point.  Pressure from Tester and Montanans eventually convinced the Postal Service to keep Missoula’s facility open.  


Tester, a member of the Senate committee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, said that he remains committed to reforming the Postal Service in a way that preserves the “public nature of the institution.”


Tester’s letter to Board of Governors’ Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr. and Board Member Louis Giuliano is available below and online HERE.




Rehberg, House Pass Legislation to Protect Private Property Rights

February 29, 2012
CONTACT: Jed Link, 202-225-3211

Rehberg Introduced Original 2005 Legislation To Correct Kelo v. City of New London Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg,  joined House colleagues in passing H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act.  This badly needed legislation would correct a dangerous expansion of eminent domain authority by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Kelo v. City of New London.  In that case, eminent domain was used to seize land for the purpose of economic development – not public use.  Rehberg introduced similar legislation in 2005 – the Private Property Protection Act (then H.R. 3083).

“There aren’t many things more important than property rights, especially in a state like Montana where the land plays such a big part in our day-to-day lives,” said Rehberg.  “In 2005, the Supreme Court made a dangerous decision to put property rights at risk by expanding the government’s authority to seize it by force.  In recent years, we’ve seen the federal government giving business cronies on Wall Street and K Street billions of dollars in tax payer bailouts.  Who’s to say handing over our private property isn’t next?  That’s why we needed this bill when I introduced similar language in 2005, and it’s why I hope the Senate acts quickly to get this to the President.”

In Kelo v. City of New London, the High Court ruled governments may seize homes, small businesses, and other private property to further economic development.  This is a significant expansion of the authority of eminent domain, which traditionally has been reserved for cases of public use and public welfare.

Among other things, the Private Property Rights Protection Act restricts the power of states or local governments that receive federal economic development funds to use eminent domain over property intended for economic development.  Essentially, it argues that the public benefit of economic development is not a sufficient public use to warrant the revocation of private property.

“Property was listed among the three unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence – the document that shaped the very creation of our nation,” said Rehberg.

# # #


February 28, 2012


Senator Responds to New Report, Highlights Montana Energy Development Opportunities


(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus reaffirmed his call for Montana to lead the way toward the nation’s energy independence in response to new recommendations released today by a coalition of energy industry, environmental, state and labor leaders. The proposals came from a broad group of stakeholders, some of whom participated in Baucus’ 5th Montana Economic Development Summit where Baucus was instrumental in bringing some of the country’s foremost energy experts, including Energy Secretary Chu, to meet with Montana energy leaders and explore new ways to capture and develop the state’s vast energy resources, from wind to coal to oil and gas to biomass. Today’s recommendations are aimed at boosting domestic U.S. oil production while reducing the nation’s CO2 emissions.


“It’s a win-win for our outdoor heritage and for our energy future to look for ways to both develop more oil and get more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  Our economic development summits are designed to bring people together to come up with solutions for jobs and this is evidence that they work.  From a CO2 pipeline and injection project under development in the Bell Creek oil field in southeastern Montana to an innovative public-private carbon sequestration project in the Kevin Dome in Toole County, Montana is helping to lead the way. I look forward to working with members of this initiative to make the existing federal incentives work better to promote a safer, cleaner and more prosperous American economy,” said Baucus, who as Chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing committee helped author the carbon sequestration tax credit in 2008.  This incentive provides taxpayers up to $20 per ton to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide.


The Enhanced Oil Recovery Plan released by the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, the Great Plains Institute and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions was welcomed with bipartisan support in Congress today.


Contact: Kate Downen 406-839-4713/Kathy Weber 406-329-7980/Jennifer Donohue 202-224-2651



February 28, 2012


Senator Looks to Montanans for Input on 2012 Farm Bill during Senate Agriculture Hearing


(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus called on Montana farmers and ranchers to share their insight into working lands conservation programs during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill today. As a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Baucus is currently writing the next Farm Bill. During today’s hearing he asked Montana agriculture producers to work with him to improve the bill and share their ideas on how to make the bill’s conservation programs work better for ranchers and farmers.


“Montana farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists. They know best how to work the land and because they depend on the land, they have such a critical role in protecting our outdoor heritage and I am thankful that Carl was able to share a real boots on the ground perspective with the Committee today,” said Baucus. “As President Eisenhower once said, ‘Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from a corn field.’ That’s exactly why input from Montana farmers and ranchers is so critical in this process. I value their ideas and will keep looking to them to make the next Farm Bill as strong as it can be for good-paying agriculture jobs.”


Some of the key witnesses at today’s hearing enjoy Montana roots including:


  • Bruce Nelson, Farm Service Agency Administrator, a fourth-generation wheat farmer from Fort Benton, Montana and former Montana Farm Service Agency Executive Director
  • David White, Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief, who served as the State Conservationist in Montana from 2002 to 2008.
  • Carl Mattson, Mattson Farms, Chester, Mont.


During the hearing, Baucus also highlighted the work the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Montanans are doing to keep sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.  The Sage Grouse Initiative in Montana has paved the way to preserving sage-grouse habitat while increasing the sustainability of working ranches and farms across the West.  Chester farmer, Carl Mattson testified as to the importance of a grassroots, team-approach to conservation during the hearing. Audio/video clips are included below and a transcript is available online HERE.



MP3 audio file: http://gp1d.senate.gov/sdmc/Baucus/022812_BAUCUS_1_AUDIO.mp3



MPEG2 video files:



Contact: Kate Downen 406-839-4713/Kathy Weber 406-329-7980/Jennifer Donohue 202-224-2651

# # #


Republican Senate Candidates Embrace GOP Culture War, Attack on Women’s Health Care

February 28, 2012
CONTACT: Matt Canter, (202) 485-3129

Republican Senate Candidates Embrace #GOPCultureWar, Attack on Women’s Health Care

Scott Brown, George Allen, Josh Mandel, Dennis Rehberg, & Dean Heller All On Defensive About Their Attacks On Women As Vote on Blunt-Brown Amendment Nears

Two weeks ago, national Republican interests groups and Republican candidates like Scott Brown and George Allen giddily attacked Democrats for supporting measures that protect access to contraception and other forms of health care  for women.  Now, these divisive Republican attacks against women are boomeranging, forcing Republican Senate candidates like Brown, Allen, Dennis Rehberg, Dean Heller and Josh Mandel to run for the hills, rather than explain why they are championing measures like the Blunt-Brown Amendment that would block access to basic health care services for women instead of measures that create jobs.

“The coordinated GOP attack on women and basic health care access shows independent voters that the Republican party is far more interested in advancing the divisive culture wars than working to create jobs and fix the economy,” said Matt Canter, spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republican powers that be and Republican Senate candidates are running on an anti-women agenda that puts common forms of contraception at risk and blocks access to non-controversial health care treatments for women across the country.  From a political perceptive we’ve seen this play out before in Senate races like Colorado in 2010 and the Personhood debate in Mississippi in 2011. Republicans are on the wrong side of this issue.”

Across the country, Republicans are hiding from their own attacks against Democratic candidates who support access to contraception and birth control.

Few places is this more apparent than in Massachusetts, where Scott Brown tried to attack his opponent Elizabeth Warren for wanting to provide access to contraception to women.  Brown fully embraced the extreme Senate measure that would allow any employer or insurance provider to take away coverage for contraception and basic health care services for any reason.   Now, Brown is being hit on all sides for the Blunt-Brown amendment in Massachusetts, with Bay State women, advocacy groups and pundits grilling Brown for supporting the extreme measure.

Even worse for Brown, he continues drive the issue home with Bay State voters by distorting Ted Kennedy’s record in a series of misleading radio ads.  The Kennedy family and Kennedy’s former aides are calling Brown’s bluff, demonstrating how Brown is distorting Kennedy’s record and calling him to take down the misleading ads.

In Virginia, George Allen is running into similar problems.  After touting in his support of Virginia “personhood” legislation just a few weeks ago and tying himself to the GOP’s war against contraception, Allen’s now drawing fire for campaigning on the legislation that would make certain kinds of contraception illegal instead of focusing on creating jobs. Allen even doubled down on the GOP culture war by calling for a national personhood policy. And just yesterday, Allen refused to denounce a Virginia measure that would force women to undergo an extremely invasive ultrasound, a procedure that experts say would meet the Virginia definition of rape, before they could terminate a pregnancy.

Other Republican Senate candidates are also embracing the #GOPCultureWar and attack on women’s health care.  Dennis Rehberg cosponsors the Brown-Blunt amendment, and Dean Heller has already taken on tremendous criticism for voting to cut Planned Parenthood and deny Nevada women access to basic, non-controversial health care treatments. And in Ohio, Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel is under scrutiny for supporting a “heartbeat bill,” which would make abortion against the law before most women would not even know they were pregnant. The law would have no exceptions if the pregnancy were the result of rape or incest.

“Whether it’s Scott Brown fighting for a bill that would allow employers to block health care coverage for women, George Allen’s legislation that would make some types of birth control illegal, or Josh Mandel’s support for the so-called “heart beat bill,” it’s obvious Republican Senate candidates want to push an extreme social agenda that hurts women rather than create jobs across America,” Canter added.

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Tester fighting for Montana’s wind industry

Senator joins bipartisan call for stable tax system to offer more certainty, create jobs


(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is pushing to extend the wind production tax credit to keep Montana’s wind industry growing and to create more jobs in the Big Sky State.


Montana’s wind power capacity was only a single megawatt in 2004, but now Montana wind energy companies generate nearly 400 megawatts of power. 


The wind industry’s recent growth, fueled in part by the tax credit, lowered the cost of wind power more than 90 percent.  Tester said extending the tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year, will enable wind companies to keep expanding and to make long-term business decisions. 


“The future of the American wind industry requires a stable tax environment in which to operate,” Tester wrote Senate leaders this week.  “Reauthorizing the wind production tax credit will provide the wind industry with the stability and predictability to plan for the future.”


The wind energy industry employs hundreds of Montanans, jobs that could be at risk if the credit expires.  According to the American Wind Energy Association, tens of thousands of Americans build wind turbines, wind towers, and other industry parts at 400 manufacturing facilities nationwide. 


“Failure to extend the production tax credit will weaken this growing manufacturing sector and destabilize an industry just before it completes its transformation to being cost competitive in the marketplace,” Tester wrote.


As President of the Montana State Senate, Tester was responsible for a state tax credit and a renewable portfolio standard that encouraged the development of wind energy in rural Montana and helped launch the state’s wind industry.


In November, Tester and Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), introduced a bipartisan bill that streamlines permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands.  The measure ensures that funds generated by energy development benefits states, counties, and various conservation efforts.


Tester’s bipartisan letter to Senate leadership is available online HERE.




Contact:          Andrea Helling or Dan Malessa – (202) 228-0371





Kicks Off Filing Day in Conrad, Where Montana Roots Began

BOZEMAN, Mont.__ Congressional Candidate Steve Daines formally announced his filing day events today, for Tuesday February 28th.  The day starts with a 9:00am filing announcement in Conrad Montana, the town Steve’s great-great-grandmother homesteaded to as a widow with 7 children.

Filing Day Schedule
Tuesday February 28th

9:00am – Kick off
Home Cafe – Conrad
408 1/2 S Main Street
1:00pm – Official Filing
State Capitol – Helena
Fan Window Area
5:30pm – Filing Day Rally
Hilton Garden Inn – Bozeman
Room – Larkspur A
Press welcome at all events.