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Republican ideology is disastrous for this country and Montana. The spending bill passed by the Republican-led House gives away the farm to the big banks and Wall Street. The bill gives billions in tax breaks for corporations while reversing 40 years of federal law protecting retirees and their surviving spouses from cuts in their pensions. Derivative trading will be the norm and everything is in place to bail out the financial institutions when they again gamble us to bankruptcy, as they did in 2008.

Closer to home, the Republican Party’s platform has a plank promoting turning our federal lands over to the states even though they know we cannot afford to manage them. In this connection, this spending bill cuts $20 million from counties in Montana because the bill left out the $330 million Secure Rural Schools program providing funding to counties with federal untaxed lands. What is the motive? Sell off federal lands to corporations and billionaires under a belief that they would be reasonably taxed. We can then kiss public use goodbye – so long to hunting, fishing, camping and, eventually, for ranchers and farmers, so long to inexpensive leasing for agricultural purposes.

Steve Daines said he “will work tirelessly” to ensure the rural school program is extended for Montana counties. Really? Where was he when this bill was being generated by his cronies in the Republican-led House? Now that it has passed the Senate and has been signed into law by Barack Obama, is anyone surprised that politicians are now getting down to pleasing their big donors, contrary to the welfare of the people?

Terry J. Hanson,

Miles City

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