In one of his last acts as a congressman, Denny Rehberg voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Had his vote prevailed, most all Montanans would now be experiencing higher income and estate tax rates; elimination of their child, business and college tuition tax credits, tax exemptions, and deductions; expiration of the Farm Bill; higher milk bills; and the loss of jobs in the wind energy industry.
Not to be outdone, his replacement, Steve Daines, joined with only 66 others in voting against providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters. Is Daines aware that the 2012 wildfire season was the third-worst fire season in U.S. history, with more than 1 million acres burning in Montana, and that, due to the continuing drought, the 2013 fire season is expected to be just as bad — if not worse — as 2012? Because of this, we can anticipate that there will be many, many Montanans who will be needing relief from our own natural disasters. When legislation comes before Congress to provide relief for victims of wildfires, can we expect Daines to repeat his recent vote to deny relief for natural disasters?
Our congressional changeover from Rehberg to Daines reminds me of New York Yankees manager Yogi Berra's quote "It's deja vu all over again."