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Friday, September 18, 2020
When push comes to shove, Daines is quick to put himself and his political career over fighting for the best interests of Montanans.
Montana Post: Why Did Steve Daines Skip a Hearing on Threats from China to Fundraise for His Campaign?
By: Don Pogreba
They call him “China’s ambassador in Congress” for a reason. Last June, before he decided that his re-election would depend on pretending to be tough on China, Senator Steve Daines skipped a Senate hearing on the “direct national security threat” Chinese supply chains pose to the United States, opting instead to attend a fundraiser in Billings with Vice President Mike Pence.
Worse yet, the Committee hearing Daines skipped specifically addressed the danger of Chinese-dominated supply lines before the threat of that dominance was tragically exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 12, 2019, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness met to discuss China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a broad Chinese initiative to dominate global trade through establishing control of global supply chains.
And while the Senate subcommittee listened to this testimony that would become even more critical just a few months later, Senator Steve Daines was attending a fundraiser in Billings.
The Associated Press on Jun 12, 2019, reports that Vice President Mike Pence came to Billings that day to give a speech, with the goal of “raising campaign cash for fellow Republican Sen. Steve Daines.”
Daines, incidentally, reported the cost of that flight as $325.00 in Senate disclosure forms. Air Force Two costs about $30,000 an hour to fly.
That Daines skipped work on a day he could have become better informed about the critical issue of supply chains between China and the rest of the world underscores just how disingenuous his recent ads suggesting he will address the problem are. Daines failed to understand the threat, failed to do his job, and failed to help the country prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic.
And the damage has been substantial.
CBS reported in April that the broken supply chains and reliance on China led to American hospitals desperately outbidding each other to get PPE for frontline workers:
A large portion of the United States’ PPE supply, like masks, gloves and gowns, comes from China.
“I think about the 2 billion, let’s say N95 respirators that we would use, at least half or more come from China,” said Prashant Yardav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and an expert on supply chain management.
In recent months, Senator Daines has attempted to depict himself as a China hawk, going so far as to run ads promising to restore American drug production and manufacturing from there back to U.S. soil, but his refusal to attend a hearing about the China threat that fellow Republicans presciently identified as a danger to the security of the United States makes clear that Daines is more interested in personal gain and carrying water for the Chinese regime.
Whether it has been working in China while Procter and Gamble was shedding jobs in the United States just months after the Tiananmen Square massacre, undermining Tibetans who yearn to be free of Chinese oppression, refusing to stand for Chinese dissidents killed by authoritarians, or even the simple act of going to work and doing his damn job, the one constant about Steve Daines has been his refusal to hold China accountable.
As a former U.S..S. official said of Daines:
“If you want to choose to engage you have to do so in a balanced way so your constituents don’t feel that you’re capitulating to every whim in order to get access,” the official said. “What you see in Sen. Daines is an imbalance at a minimum and overtures that are beyond what you see from any other member.”
“You’re allowed to want bilateral trade,” the official added. “You just aren’t allowed to bend over backwards to do it and then claim you’ve been tough on China.”
That is the real Steve Daines.
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