Obamacare Premium Increases Come to Montana

As open enrollment on the Obamacare exchange begins, headlines from across the nation read, “Premiums for Health Insurance Bought on Exchanges to Climb in 2016.”

Nowhere is this truer than in Montana where premiums will increase 20-45%.

Health care experts predicted Obamacare would not reduce premiums but President Obama and Democrats refused to listen. Despite President Obama’s broken promise that premiums would go down the reality is our families are going to spend more money from their paycheck for their government-approved health care plans.

As premiums continue to rise, Montana Democrats are not fighting to protect our health care. In fact, Montana Democrats just show blind allegiance to the liberal cause and refuse to stand with the 56% of Montanans who oppose Obamacare:

  • Governor Bullock admits our “small businesses and families pay too much” for health care but he’s too busy promoting the liberal agenda to stand against Obamacare.
  • Senator Tester won’t show a backbone to President Obama as he continues to defend this health care law he helped pass.
  • Monica Lindeen, the Democrat State Auditor, recently approved these double-digit premium hikes.
  • Jesse Laslovich, a Montana Democrat who’s running to succeed Lindeen in 2016, has spread misleading claims that Obamacare would reduce our health care costs and will simply follow in Lindeen’s footsteps of approving premium increases if elected.

Montana Democrats continue to press forward with their staunch defense and support for Obamacare despite the devastating harm these premium increases will have on tens of thousands of Montana families. Our families should not be burden with these premium increases. Our families deserve health care reform that will expand access and ensure affordable, high-quality care that won’t take more money from our paycheck each year.




Why is Bullock Silent on Coal Jobs during Trade Trip?

Governor Bullock is spending time this week in South Korea and Taiwan to promote trade opportunities for Montanans but has so far been silent on the issue of getting Montana’s clean coal to open markets.

Montana has a tremendous opportunity to provide South Korea and Taiwan with our clean coal given their demand to power their homes with an affordable, reliable energy source.

Approving the Gateway Pacific Terminal in Washington is critical to having the infrastructure in place to get Montana’s clean coal to South Korea and Taiwan. This terminal will be responsible for creating thousands of high-paying jobs, providing greater self-sufficiency for Montana’s Tribal Nations, and bringing critical revenue into our communities to support their education and infrastructure needs.

Also at stake is the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals in Washington that will significantly increase export capacity, creating more good-paying Montana jobs to make sure our clean coal can meet the demands of our overseas customers.

Remember, Montana has some of the cleanest coal in the world and it is our clean coal that should be used to power homes and create more good-paying Montana jobs.

It’s disappointing to see that Bullock isn’t using his trade trip as an opportunity to talk about his plans to fight for these job-creating infrastructure projects to expand job opportunities right here at home.

During this trip Bullock said he wants to “ultimately open new doors for Montana businesses.” Why doesn’t that include fighting to approve these terminals?

These terminals are vital to the future of the Crow Tribe. Allowing the Crow Tribe to get their clean coal to open markets will lead to greater self-sufficiency and better opportunities for their members.

The Crow Tribe’s very survival depends on developing their clean coal:

  • One Crow Tribe member said, “We need that coal, we depend on it. For jobs, and then also, like, our roads, our school, you know, like…this coal revenue? It provides for this community.
  • Another member said, “The coal mine in our community, that’s the opportunity it brings. And that helps for self-sufficiency. To be able to determine our own future.”

Governor Bullock’s silence on the need to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to get our clean coal to open markets speaks volumes to whether or not he will actually stand up and fight for the well-being and livelihoods of Montana workers and the Tribal Nations. Since Montana is ranked 49th in salaries and wages we must do better to expand opportunities and ensure there are good-paying jobs for all Montanans. Why won’t Bullock support family wage jobs and fight to expand our clean coal exports?




ICYMI: Bullock Goes Back on Promise, Tells Laurel: Get a Loan

Governor Bullock promised the city of Laurel $2.7 million for a critical water jobs project but he has gone back on his promise and told Laurel: Get a loan. Residents of Laurel were waiting years for this money only to find out it was never put in a budget by Bullock and instead money they believed was marked to ensure clean water would flow in their community was given to other communities.

This is the latest example in a string of infrastructure failures under Bullock’s watch:

  • During the 2015 Legislative session, Bullock pursued an all-or-nothing approach to infrastructure funding and demanded Montana go into debt to pay for all his pet projects despite the state having the cash to pay for our critical infrastructure needs.
  • During the 2013 Legislative session, Bullock VETOED a critical infrastructure bill for Eastern Montana despite overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the Montana House (93-6) and Senate (48-2).


Billings Gazette:
Governor advises Laurel City Council to take out loan for water

Instead of arriving in Laurel with a plan to pay the state’s $2.7 million share of a project needed to keep water flowing from taps and through the refinery, the governor’s staff told Laurel City Council members they would have to take out a loan.

Original plans to build a new intake 3 miles upstream of Laurel’s defunct one called for $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the state paying a 25 percent share, or $2.7 million. Although the city expected the governor’s office to put it in budgets, it did not appear before the 2011 or 2013 legislatures, so Laurel entered the 2015 session scrambling, City Administrator Heidi Jensen said.

Gov. Steve Bullock directed his budget office to patch together contingency funds, grants and loans to help Laurel.

But the package proposed to city leaders in July has since disappeared.




Bullock Won’t Say He Supports Lawsuit to Protect Montana Coal Workers

Governor Bullock refuses to directly support the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Tim Fox on Friday to protect our coal workers and families from President Obama and the EPA’s job-killing energy regulations. 

Bullock didn’t directly say whether he supports the lawsuit. (KXLH, 10/23/2015)

Governor Bullock had the opportunity on Friday to prove he is willing to fight for the livelihoods of our coal workers and their families but he won’t say if he supports this lawsuit. Bullock’s silence marks a long standing pattern of failing to stand up and protect these family wage jobs. The Obama-EPA job-killing energy regulations threaten to eliminate thousands of good-paying Montana jobs and raise electricity prices on our families.

You should also know that Bullock’s appointees to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality recently rejected a coal jobs project. Bullock’s appointees blocked the responsible development of our energy resources that would have created jobs and provided affordable and reliable energy to our families.

This past August, Bullock was nowhere to be found when Montana coal workers and their families rallied in Billings to defend and protect their livelihoods. Testimonials were heard that exposed Bullock for not fighting back against these harmful regulations. One witness said Bullock “rolled his eyes” when they discussed the importance of coal to our economy and our families.

Bullock is making misleading claims that the EPA’s job-killing energy regulations won’t impact our coal industry but the Corette power plant in Billings was forced to shut down this year because of these harmful regulations.

Don’t be fooled by any of Bullock’s attempts to appear to fight for our coal workers and their families. Bullock has cast his bidding in support of Obama’s War on Coal. If Bullock is re-elected he will sell out our coal workers and their families to appease the liberal agenda and the fringe enviro groups who fund his campaigns.

Montana is on the front lines in the War on Coal. These job-killing energy regulations threaten to impact nine Montana coal plans, including Colstrip. If Obama, Bullock, and their fringe enviro groups aren’t stopped they will wreak havoc on our economy and the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Montana families.




AG Fox Fights to Protect Coal Workers; Why Won’t Bullock?

Helena, MT – Chairman Jeff Essmann of the Montana Republican Party issued the following statement praising Attorney General Tim Fox for filing a lawsuit against the Obama-EPA job-killing energy regulations:

“I am deeply appreciative of Attorney General Tim Fox for filing this lawsuit to protect Montana coal workers and their families from President Obama and the EPA’s job-killing energy regulations. These devastating and harmful regulations will threaten to eliminate thousands of Montana jobs. Tim’s actions show he is willing to fight to protect our good-paying jobs.”

“It’s not clear from Governor Bullock’s statement that he unequivocally supports this lawsuit. If Bullock truly supported our coal workers and their families why won’t he fight to protect their livelihoods? Montanans need a Republican Governor– alongside our other Republican elected officials– to fight for these family wage jobs.”




Tester, Bullock Fight to Protect Sanctuary Cities for Criminals

Senator Tester blocked a bill earlier this week that would end sanctuary cities, which provide safe havens for criminals who are in this nation illegally. By refusing to take up this bill, Tester is allowing these dangerous criminals to continue to run free and commit heinous crimes. Tester’s vote stood in the way of enforcing the rule of law and ensuring that our families feel protected and safe in their own communities.

This legislation would have forced cities that knowingly harbor criminals to follow the rule of law and ended their ability to provide a sanctuary to these felons. There are sanctuary cities all across the country right now that welcome criminals with open arms despite their past criminal history and deportation records.

Tester isn’t the only Democrat in Montana who caters and protects these criminals …

Governor Bullock VETOED a bill during the 2013 legislative session that would have prevented sanctuary cities and ensured no criminals could be harbored and protected in our Montana communities. This legislation would have enforced our nation’s laws and provided families with the feeling that they could feel safe and secure in their own neighborhoods.

Montana Democrats are not fighting to protect our livelihoods– rather they cater to the interests of their fringe liberal base who seeks to protect these criminals and provide them with a safe haven free from the reach of law.




Tester Supports Jobs, Stronger Economy for Iran– not Montana

Senator Tester opposes lifting the U.S. oil export ban while supporting Iran’s efforts to lift their oil export ban. Tester has proven once again he will fight for anyone but Montanans.  Tester is more concerned about helping Iran create jobs and build a stronger economy than fighting to better the lives of thousands of hard-working Montanans and their families.

Lifting the U.S. oil export ban will create 2,400 good, high-paying jobs right here in Montana, provide over $100 million directly to Montana’s economy, and make America more energy secure.

Montanans will also see lower gas prices– keeping more money in our pockets.

The U.S. is the only country left in the world to ban oil exports after President Obama and Senator Tester supported the Iran Deal, which lifted Iran’s sanctions allowing them to export oil and have access to $100 billion in frozen assets- mostly from oil sales.

Tester’s support for lifting the Iran oil export ban means Iran will have a stronger economy, Iranian jobs will be created, and Iranian communities will have access to critical funding.

Tester’s opposition to lifting the U.S. oil export ban means we do NOT get to build a stronger Montana economy or create good, high-paying Montana jobs. It also means we will remain dependent on oil in the ground from the Middle East– not America.

Montana Republican Chairman Jeff Essmann asked, “Has Jon Tester forgotten he was elected by the people of Montana to represent their best interests? Why is Tester not protecting our safety or fighting to improve our economy? When people see him they need to ask, ‘Whose side are you on?'”

It’s beyond disturbing that Tester will fight to improve the livelihoods of Iranians– not Montanans.




Tester Flip-Flop Alert: Tester Supports Government Shutdown

Senator Tester has flip-flopped, again. Tester announced he is no longer supporting the End Government Shutdowns Act– despite co-sponsoring this bill in 2012.

It was reported today, “The current chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has had a change of heart this year” and will no longer support the bill.

What explains Tester’s “change of heart?

Well, Tester wants a government shutdown to blame Republicans and score political points in the hopes of influencing next year’s elections. 

As a member of Senate Democrat leadership– leading their campaign and fundraising efforts for the 2016 election– Tester is more focused on the election prospects of his Democrat colleagues then doing what’s right for Montanans.

Tester’s next campaign slogan should be: Democrat Party first– Montanans last.

In 2012, Tester issued a press release announcing his support for the End Government Shutdowns Act and demanded Congress “quit playing political games.”

  • Senator Jon Tester wants to force Congress to quit playing political games when it comes to threatening to shut down the U.S. Government.
  • “This bipartisan bill makes sure that Congress gets serious instead of putting our service members, seniors and small businesses in jeopardy.”

Tester is now putting the livelihoods of “our service members, seniors and small businesses in jeopardy”– the same people he called on Congress to protect in 2012– all for the sake of scoring political points and trying to give Democrats the upper-hand in the 2016 elections.

Montanans won’t be fooled by Tester’s political games.Tester pulled his support for this bill because he wants a government shutdown so he can blame Republicans and reap the political rewards.

Tester’s actions are extremely dangerous and highlight how far he’s willing to go to help Democrats win next year– even if means causing a government shutdown.




It Only Goes Up, Up, Up #Obamacare

Around 40,000 Montanans will see premium increases between 20-45% next year because of Obamacare. Bottom line:The rates for 2016 are going up – a lot.”

Montana Obamacare Premium Increases:

Montana Health CO-OP: 30-40%

PacificSource: 30%

Blue Cross Blue Shield: 18-25%

When President Obama promised Obamacare would reduce premiums by $2,500 it was more than just a broken promise, premiums have actually increased by nearly $2,500 for Montanans because of Obamacare.

Working-class Montanans actually pay an extra $189 every month for their health care plans because of Obamacare– taking $2,300 from our paycheck every year.

And, more money will now be taken from our paycheck with this recent 20-45% premium increase.

You can’t count on Montana Democrats to fight back against Obamacare or protect us from this financial hardship because they don’t stand with the 56% of Montanans who oppose Obamacare.

Democrat State Auditor Monica Lindeen– who currently regulates the insurance marketplace– said, “She was pleasantly surprised to see rumors of dramatic price increases under the Affordable Care Act are not happening in Montana.” Not true.

Democrat Jesse Laslovich– who’s running to replace Lindeen as State Auditor– supports Obamacare and said, “People will have lower premiums.” Again, not true.

Senator Tester continues to support Obamacare, well, because he’s always willing to do Obama’s bidding.

As for Governor Bullock, when given the opportunity to protect working-class Montana families from Obamacare refused to join a lawsuit challenging Obamacare.

Bullock’s loyalty to President Obama and the Democrat Party has been rewarded. The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)– which Bullock now runs and raises millions in dark money– wired nearly $3 million to a group who ran political ads supporting Bullock’s 2012 run for governor.

One of the political ads touted Bullock’s efforts defending and protecting Obamacare.

Will more money be funneled into Montana from the DGA because Bullock supports Obamacare? Time will tell …

Most disturbing of all, Bullock has amassed a $3 million dark money war-chest (and counting) for his work at the DGA, and it’s only a matter of time before Bullock’s dark money floods the state to support his re-election campaign.




MTDEMS Support War on Coal; Bullock Plays Both Sides

If you want more proof Montana Democrats have turned their backs on working-class Montanans just look to the 34 Democrat lawmakers who wrote a letter to Governor Bullock supporting President Obama’s War on Coal that will shut down our coal industry and eliminate thousands of good, high-paying jobs– including union jobs.

Get this– these Montana Democrats actually admit the Obama-EPA job-killing energy regulations will be “disruptive and somewhat costly.”

Where’s Bullock on this issue? Don’t be fooled by his political games– Bullock’s playing both sides. Here’s the reality: Bullock doesn’t actually fight for the livelihoods of Montana coal workers and their families.

Bullock’s position on the finalized Obama-EPA job-killing energy regulations has already shifted.

  • In August, when Obama announced the finalized regulations, Bullock claimed to be “extremely disappointed.”
  • In September, “Bullock appeared more optimistic.

Bullock continues to make misleading claims that these regulations won’t shut down our coal industry.

  • Bullock promised: “Montana’s strategy will not require existing coal-fired power plants to shut down.
  • In reality, the War on Coal shut down the Corette power plant in Billings.

Obama’s next target in the War on Coal: Shut down Colstrip.

  • Nine coal-fired units in Montana could be affected, including the four-unit Colstrip. (Great Falls Tribune, 09/19/2014)
  • Continuing an ongoing wave of coal-plant shutdowns. (POLITICO, 08/01/2015)

Bullock will continue to mislead Montanans about his (alleged) support for our coal industry since he has until 2018 to submit a plan– which conveniently works out well for his re-election campaign next year.

If Bullock wins– mark our words– he will turn his back on the working-class and implement the Obama-EPA job-killing energy regulations– he already decided to comply with Obama’s draft regulations.

One final note– Bullock failed to attend a critical coal meeting in August where Obama’s proposed double coal tax was the topic of discussion; nor did he attend the pro-coal rally across the street in Billings. This is just another example highlighting Bullock’s failure to defend and fight for Montana coal workers and their families.

President Obama is proposing a double coal tax here in Montana to increase energy prices and property taxes– this serves as another weapon in Obama’s arsenal as he tries to shut down our coal industry.

If Bullock really stood with the working-class he would lead the fight against Obama’s War on Coal and do everything he could to protect their good, high-paying jobs and their livelihoods. He’s not. Just expect to hear more double talk from Bullock.