BAUCUS SAYS BUDGET MUST FOCUS ON AMERICAN JOBS

Senator Reiterates Call to Bring Troops Home from Afghanistan as White House Prepares for Monday Budget Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus reiterated his call to bring troops home from Afghanistan and focus on American jobs today ahead of the release of the President’s budget on Monday.

 “There is something fundamentally wrong with spending $88 billion for nation building in Afghanistan while we’re asking Americans to make tough cuts here at home. Right now, we are working hard to pay for a highway bill that invests in Montana jobs, while the money we’ve already spent in Iraq and Afghanistan is enough to rebuild the American interstate system five times over.  We know education is a key to making sure American workers are competitive, but we’ve spent enough on Iraq and Afghanistan to double the number of public elementary schools in America.  And that’s all deficit spending,” Baucus said.

“Our troops have done an amazing job.  Thanks to them Osama Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run.  They deserve our respect and gratitude.  But more than that, they deserve good-paying jobs to come home to when their service is done, and that means we need to strengthen our economy.

“We made the right choice bringing our troops home from Iraq.  Now it’s time to ask Afghans to take responsibility for their own country, so we can focus on targeted strikes against terrorist targets around the world and invest in nation building here in America.”

 Baucus has repeatedly called for a change of course in Afghanistan since the death of Osama bin Laden in May – with the goal of having all U.S. combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year.  And, in December, he voted for legislation in the Senate that would require the President to submit and expedite plan for troop drawdown.  

 At the same time, Baucus has been working to pass a bipartisan extension of the Highway Bill.  The last Highway Bill, passed in 2005, brought more than $2.3 billion to Montana for highway construction projects – a $7 return to Montana for every $1 invested – and helped create and sustain more than 18,000 good-paying jobs across the state.

 Baucus also led efforts last year to pass his VETs Jobs Bill, which was signed into law in November, and he continues to work to pass legislation supporting small businesses owned by disabled veterans.

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