Grandma’s Values

By Beacon Staff

Grandma taught values of kindness and hard work. She tended to the sick and fed the hungry. Nurturing moms and grandmas around the world share these basic values.

Last month Rep. Steve Daines helped pass a bill that cut the food provided to hungry people by $4 billion annually. If the House has its way nearly 4 million hungry people, half of which are kids, will be booted from nutrition programs and Montana’s poor could stop receiving an average $4.25 per day for food.

Shockingly, Daines’ privately paid nine-day junket to the Middle East disclosed over a $1,000 allowance for his food, enough to feed the average Montana food stamp recipient for two-thirds of a year.

The day after voting to cut food for the hungry, Daines helped slash funding from the health care act.

Sen. Max Baucus said defunding the Affordable Care Act targets Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, resulting in millions of seniors and children being denied existing benefits.

What Daines and the ideological House did hurts people by targeting the sick young and the sick old and cutting food for poor kids. It removed existing health care funding as well as future monies to provide urgent care for 70,000 of Montana’s poorest, many of them veterans. Those are not Grandma’s values.

Old-timer Republican senators are not impressed. Sen. John McCain called the defunding scheme “not rational.” Former Sen. Judd Gregg wrote, “Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans.” Neither the Republican minority leader nor whip said they would support filibuster in the Senate.

The Senate will likely restore funding keeping health care and other services open for people. Hopefully the House relents by funding Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program per existing federal law.

Buried in the House’s three-month budget proposal is an extension of the highly questionable law that protects GMO seeds from judicial court safety concerns. Any seed protection should rather be given to Montana’s greatly coveted non-GMO wheat.
Sen. Jon Tester was the lone Democrat in the Senate to vote against the last short-term budget specifically because it contained the GMO protection clause.

Defunding health care like Daines proposes may remove money from programs assisting the old, young and poor, but it cannot stop the sizeable health subsidy available to wage earners at one to four times the poverty level.

Transferable tax credits for healthcare are now available to help some people buy private insurance. A six-month window exists to enroll. Tax credits directly help pay for private insurance.

Moms will wisely urge their college-aged kids to enroll for subsidized health insurance. Moms and grandmas know that regardless of any knuckleheaded politicians, health insurance saves lives and reduces personal bankruptcy.

Mom knows that if decent health insurance is available at reduced prices, her kids better buy it.

If there is any behavior that is likely to inspire Baucus to reconsider his retirement decision, it’s likely the kind of reckless assault on Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that Daines is pushing.

Baucus sees that any potential Senate win by Daines, who cosponsors efforts to remove health care funding, would likely transform the traditionally bipartisan chamber into a more zealous institution.

Baucus would likely rather see a moderate like Lt. Gov. John Walsh run and win his Senate seat, than witness programs like Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance ravaged by ideology.

Walsh is former brigadier general of the Montana National Guard with three decades of service. Walsh is respected statewide for an ability to produce results.

Grandma would say that we need safe leaders who exhibit kindness, care for the young, elderly and hungry. Grandma would also be quick to scold members of the House, telling them to straighten up and don’t behave like spoiled brats or schoolyard bullies.

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