FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 24, 2020
Daines Timeline of Deception on His Coronavirus Response
Helena, MT – Senator Steve Daines has for weeks been double-dealing Montanans on his response to coronavirus, fighting for large corporations and the wealthy over Montana’s working families, bragging about securing personal protective equipment (PPE) before it arrived, refusing to condemn a campaign aide cashing in on the pandemic, forcing tax breaks for the wealthy into must-pass legislation, claiming credit for crucial unemployment benefits he opposed expanding and bragging about hospital and testing funding he initially opposed including.
Here’s a timeline of the times Senator Daines has misled Montanans about his record on responding to the public health crisis:
March 25 — Daines Opposed Expanded Unemployment Benefits for Montanans
Steve Daines has been repeatedly caught “bragging” about unemployment benefits he voted against expanding, earning him condemnation for his brazen dishonesty. But what Daines won’t tell Montanans is that he voted for an amendment that would have capped unemployment benefits for out-of-work Montanans, after supporting a $500 billion corporate slush fund without adequate oversight.
April 1 — Daines Took Credit for Securing PPE Before It Arrived
In an April 1 teletown hall, Daines told Montanans that he had secured 79,000 N95 masks for health care workers in the state, repeating the claim later that week in an April 7 teletown hall. However, the PPE didn’t arrive in the state until April 10.
April 3 — Daines Refused to Comment on Campaign Aide Moving To “Cash In” On Coronavirus
Daines has refused to answer questions about a top campaign aide starting a medical supply company to “capitalize on the coronavirus response” – using “relationships” to obtain equipment like testing materials and PPEs that are in short supply. Daines’ most recent campaign spending reports revealed that he paid nearly $50,000 to GOP fundraiser Mike Gula’s firm shortly before he started his pandemic profiteering business, raising still unanswered questions as to the nature of his affiliation with Gula. Daines has paid Gula nearly $500,000 since 2018.
April 14 — Daines, Republicans Forced Massive Tax Break for the Wealthy into Must-Pass Coronavirus Legislation; Rural Hospitals Shut Out of Loan Program
Reporting on the coronavirus response package revealed that Steve Daines and Senate Republicans forced a massive tax giveaway for millionaires into the coronavirus response package meant to help working families, hospitals, and small businesses. While Daines and Senate Republicans were adding a giveaway for their millionaire backers to the pandemic response bill, government-owned rural hospitals were shut out of the rescue package’s loan program, including a number of rural hospitals in Montana.
April 18 — Daines Again Took Credit for Securing Equipment that Hadn’t Arrived
Daines claimed on April 18 that he had secured 5,000 testing swabs and celebrated their delivery to Helena — before they had arrived in the state. Governor Bullock confirmed the arrival of the testing swabs two days later.
April 20 — Daines Runs Ads Claiming to Hold China Accountable, Despite Glowing Praise Weeks Earlier
A television ad from Senator Daines claimed he’s holding China accountable, while just a few weeks earlier he had praised the country on Fox Business, saying “the Chinese government aggressively worked to contain [the coronavirus outbreak]” and bragged about his own ties to the country, “I spent a lot of time in China back in the 90s, in fact I spent some time living in Guangzhou.”
As Washington faces increasing scrutiny for failing to adequately prepare for the crisis, Daines continues to resort to finger pointing rather than actually fighting to get Montanans the resources they need to cope with the pandemic.
April 22 — Daines Took Credit for Hospital and Testing Funding After Pushing for Paycheck Protection Program Bill With Neither
Steve Daines once again took credit for relief measures he opposed, touting his role in securing additional funding for hospitals and COVID-19 tests, despite having pushed for a package that addressed neither. In a Facebook Town Hall yesterday, Daines claimed he “help[ed] secure” the additional relief that he had initially opposed including. While Daines continues to run ads boasting about his role in taking on the coronavirus, he supported legislation without any funding to both increase testing capacity and support struggling hospitals across the country and in Montana.
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