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WASHINGTON - Members of Montana's congressional delegation are not planning any drastic changes for 2004.

When asked if he had any New Year's resolutions, Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., shot back, "Survive!"

The senator then added: "I don't have a specific resolution. I'll just keep on doing what I am doing."

For Burns that means he will continue to use his spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee to direct as much money as he can back to Montana. The committee has jurisdiction over the budgets of all of the federal agencies and programs. Burns is the chairman of the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Interior Department.

Burns also plans to continue focusing his energy on telecommunications and transportation issues. He plans to work on an overhaul of the Universal Service Fund, the federal program that subsidizes telecommunication for rural residents.

Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., also plans to look out for the interest of residents of the Treasure State.

"I remain committed to building a more secure future for Montanans," said Rehberg, who, according to recent polls, has the highest approval rate of any statewide official in Montana. "It goes from maintaining the commitment to the war in Iraq to getting federal support for people in Libby who have asbestosis."

Rehberg also said he plans to do what he can to minimize government interference in business. He said that "keeping the government from screwing up business" is one of his top priorities.

A top priority for Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is passing a highway funding bill. Passage of a measure that would define sole proprietorship agriculture operations, logging operations, and oil refineries as manufacturing and reduce their taxes is also at the top of Baucus' agenda.

"He is going to work to pass legislation that creates good-paying jobs for Montanans," Baucus spokesman Barrett Kaiser said.

Besides looking after the needs of their fellow Montanans, the lawmakers also have personal goals.

Burns, who turns 69 later this month, would like to shed a few pounds from his midsection.

"I'd like to lose 20 ugly pounds without cutting my head off," Burns said.

Slimming down is not a priority for either Baucus or Rehberg who are known for their intense workout regimens.

Baucus is busy training for the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in Squaw Valley, Calif. The race will be held June 26 and 27. On Nov. 20, Baucus tripped while competing in the JFK 50 Miler in Hagerstown, Md. The 62-year-old senator completed the race in just under 11 hours despite the fall during mile eight that required stitches and left him with a bruised face.

While Baucus will be spending a large portion of his free time training, Rehberg plans to focus his free time on his family. The increased amount of time he will be spending with his family is the fulfillment of a promise he made to his wife, Jan.

"I am really going to make an effort to be home a couple of weekends a month," the former college gymnast said. "That is a promise I made to Jan. I've got kids growing up and that promise is coming home to roost. I am going to try to carve out some more time for them."

Rehberg's son, A.J., is 18 and his daughters, Katie and Elsie, are respectively 15 and 5.

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