HELENA — On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden laid out what he saw as his administration’s accomplishments for the last year and priorities for the next, in his State of the Union address. Unsurprisingly, Montana’s members of Congress had very different reactions to his speech.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester praised the policy goals Biden outlined.
“America is at our strongest when we stand together, and I appreciate President Biden laying out his vision for how to unite Americans and keep our country safe,” he said in a statement. “We need to remain focused on things that matter to Americans, like lowering the cost of gas and prescription drugs, while supporting our democratic ally, Ukraine, against Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of their country. Putin’s reckless actions also serve as a stark reminder of the cost of war, and I was proud to see President Biden announce his support of expanding health care and benefits for our nation’s veterans living with military toxic exposures. We’ve got a lot of work to do in 2022, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to lower costs and create jobs in Montana.”
However, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican, was highly critical of the administration’s record so far.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, the state of the union is in jeopardy,” he said. “In fact, over the last year, Biden has lacked leadership on the world stage, he’s emboldened our adversaries and created an inflation crisis, a southern border crisis and an American energy crisis with Montana families paying a severe price. The President must take ownership for his first year of failures and stop putting the far left above Montanans. There is still time for Biden to right this ship, and I strongly encourage him to put politics aside and do so.”
Montana’s lone U.S. House member, Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, chose not to attend the speech Tuesday. He told the Daily Caller he objected to a requirement that lawmakers get a COVID test to enter, which he believed was unnecessary. On social media, he accused Democratic leadership in Congress of politicizing the address with the rule.
Before Biden’s address, Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, also released a statement criticizing the administration’s record.
“For the last year, the American people have looked to President Biden for the unity and bipartisanship he campaigned on and promised,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the president has bypassed bipartisanship and the challenges we face have only grown more serious. Americans are struggling to pay for groceries and fill up their tanks with inflation at a 40-year high. Our unsecure southern border has allowed cartels to push deadly drugs and crime into our communities. With Americans feeling skyrocketing gas and home heating prices, the Biden administration shut the door on responsible energy development, making us less secure and more dependent on foreign energy sources. With the serious challenges we face, I urge the president to turn a new page – to recommit to bipartisanship, to work with Democrats and Republicans, and to become a better partner with our nation’s governors.”