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Feb 13, 2013 12:20 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Montana's Congressional delegation responds to State of the Union

Montana's congressional delegates all responded to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech late Tuesday evening.

Senator Max Baucus (D - MT) was particularly pleased with the President's announcement that the war in Afghanistan will be over by the end of next year.

"Bringing our troops home from Afghanistan is the right thing to do, and we have a responsibility to do all we can to make sure they have good-paying jobs to come home to," Baucus said.

Baucus says creating jobs has to be the number one priority of this next Congress.

"As I watched the State of the Union the number one thing on my mind was ‘how can we translate words into jobs?'" Baucus said.

Baucus says passing the Farm Bill is one surefire way to create jobs.

"I will keep fighting to get it done for the one-in-five Montana jobs that depend on agriculture," Baucus said.

Senator Jon Tester (D- MT) also responded to the President's speech by saying, "Creating jobs and strengthening our economy will require Republicans and Democrats working together to solve the challenges facing our nation. But challenges present opportunities, and I will work with anyone committed to building a stronger middle class, cutting wasteful spending and cutting our debt."

Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) issued a more lengthy response to the President's speech.

Here is the transcript of his response:

"We all share the common goal of renewing and growing our economy. But the President's vision for this country is one of bigger government and more spending, not the common sense Montana values and pro-growth solutions that our nation needs. Montanans deserve real solutions, not more political rhetoric. To grow our economy, to create jobs, to get our debt under control, we need common sense Montana solutions, not more of Washington's failed ideas. Anything less is unfair to the next generation.

That's why I am committed to the following principles. First we must take concrete steps to grow our economy and get's our nation's fiscal house in order. We need real tax reform, a simplified, pro-growth tax code that provides American families and small businesses with certainty, not confusion, and encourages our small businesses to grow, invest, and create new jobs.

We need to take serious steps to balance our budget. Under President Obama, our nation's debt continues to grow and grow. We must make smart decisions today that get our spending under control and protect the promises we've made to our seniors and veterans, while strengthening the future for the next generation.

Second, we need a true all-of-the-above energy plan, one that would encourage the development of both renewable and traditional energy resources. In Montana, we have abundant natural resources-from wind and water, to coal and natural gas. We must encourage the responsible development of these resources, not put up senseless barriers that block the creation of good-paying jobs and hinder our path to energy independence.

The recent agreement between the Crow Tribe and Cloud Peak Energy is a great example of how we can grow the economy and create good-paying jobs through the development of our state's resources. I'm excited about the potential that this partnership holds, and I'm also honored that Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote, who has shown tremendous leadership with this agreement, joined me this evening in Washington, D.C. for tonight's State of the Union Address.

We also must move forward on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. I can't say it enough. This project means Montana jobs and it's time for the President to approve it.

And finally, I remain committed to protecting Montanans' right to keep and bear arms, and I will continue fighting against any efforts that infringe upon Montanans' Second Amendment rights.

These are the common sense Montana solutions that our nation needs. That's why I will stand strong and protect the freedoms that we value and work toward common sense solutions that help grow our economy, lower our national debt and get our country back on track."

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