Montana’s two U.S. senators split their vote on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services this week.
Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican, supported the cabinet pick, saying Price will uphold the president’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, opposed the nominee, saying Price planned to privatize Medicare.
“We cannot allow this administration to gamble with our seniors’ future and their health care,” Tester said. “America’s seniors have earned their Medicare over a lifetime of hard work and because most of them live on fixed incomes, they cannot afford to see it privatized.”
Tester delivered a floor speech on the matter this week and read several letters from Montanans into the public record. He also warned that privatizing Medicare would have dire implications on rural Montanans.
“A farmer from Fort Benton who has given his blood, sweat and tears to feed our country, and is hanging up his dirty baseball cap for the last time, will have to worry about finding extra money in his savings to cover higher premiums and out of pocket costs,” Tester said.
Daines, however, supported Price’s nomination, calling it an opportunity repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Secretary Price will reshape healthcare delivery for the American people by upholding the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Daines said. “I’m excited to once again have a doctor and strong leader running the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Last week, Tester and Daines also split their vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education. Facing a 50-50 tie, DeVos was ultimately confirmed after Vice President Mike Pence broke the stalemate.