FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Montana Post: Steve Daines Lied to Montanans about Not Taking His Senate Pay During the Shutdown
By: Don Pogreba
“Steve Daines can’t stop lying to Montanans. In 2019, he loudly told us that he would not take his Senate pay while the government was shut down—and then turned around to take every cent of it.
When the Trump Administration shut down the government from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, Daines made a big deal about this refusal to take his Senate pay, issuing a press release noting that “it would be inappropriate for me to receive my pay” and telling a [reporter] that he had not been paid.
Daines said House Democrats have to relent, at least meeting Trump part way to $5.7 billion. During the past week Daines has declined to be paid until the partial shutdown ends. He’s offered a bill requiring all lawmakers to do the same.
But Daines lied. In his financial disclosure forms for 2019, Daines reported making $174,000 in 2019, the same salary received by every Senator not in leadership. No deduction for almost four weeks of the government shutdown as he promised, but his full, “inappropriate” salary.
Daines apparently thinks that arguing against pay for members of Congress is a political winner. In an editorial published by Fox News in December 2019, Daines argued that members of Congress who fail to pass budgets should not only not be paid, but they should leave office.
That’s a fascinating position for Daines to take since there have been three devastating shutdowns during his brief, undistinguished career in the Senate and all three centered about Republican refusal to negotiate. And Daines got paid every time.
Calls for slashing Congressional pay have long been a part of the Daines rhetorical playbook. Daines, who reports assets worth as much as $22 million, introduced a bill in 2013, 2015, and 2017 that would reduce the pay of members of Congress to $1 if it failed to pass a balanced budget.
Perhaps all three bills died without so much as a subcommittee hearing because Daines’s colleagues understood that they were little more than the empty political gestures of a multimillionaire who would tell his constituents he wasn’t going to take his paycheck and then turn around and cash it.
Steve Daines has so much contempt for us—the voters of Montana and the press who cover him—that he thinks he can get away with lying to us, even when the truth is easily discovered. He’ll grandstand about the budget and then pass a massive tax cut for himself that explodes the national debt, and he’ll pretend that he’s sacrificing without even demonstrating the conviction necessary to follow through on the gesture.
Why would we believe anything he has to tell us?”
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