Montana Congressman Steve Daines DID NOT vote for Obamacare

by Dr. Ed Berry 

Added on November 15: 

Please read my article “I was wrong about the H.R. 2775 vote: Congressman Steve Daines was right.

It changes the conclusions I made in this article. Therefore, I have lined out my incorrect sentences and added “DID NOT” to the title.


Why did we elect him if not to stop Obamacare?

In his letter (below) to Mae Woo of Billings, Montana, Republican US Congressman Steve Daines explains why he voted with 198 Democrats to approve H.R. 2775 to reopen government and fund Obamacare rather than with the 144 Republicans who voted against it.

You can read the roll-call vote here.

The GOP adopted a Resolution to Defund Obamacare at its 2013 Summer Meeting. Daines voted against this GOP resolution.

The House has budget authority over all bills and has the legal right to not fund Obamacare. [New: This is wrong. Obamacare had mandatory funding thanks to the Democrats.]

Republicans control the US House yet 38 percent of them did not have courage to stop Obamacare, and the damage it will do to our healthcare industry, our economy, our middle class, our taxes, our privacy, our freedom and our lives.

Daines writes about Obamacare:

I remain fully committed to repealing it.

But if not now, when? This was our last chance to stop Obamacare in 2013.

This was his chance to prove his commitment.  Daines offers this excuse for his vote:

I did, nonetheless, believe that the federal government needed to reopen and that it would be irresponsible to risk default on our obligations.”

Irresponsible“? Which is more irresponsible:

  1. voting to add more debt, as Obamacare does, or
  2. voting to stop accumulating debt?

Congressman Daines voted to add the debt of Obamacare to our already out-of-control debt.

The fact is the US was not at risk of default if the debt ceiling was not raised.

Everyday, the US government takes in much more money in taxes than its debt payments. Rep. Daines fell for the Democrat-promoted fiction and Obama scare tactic that the US government was about to default on its debt payments.

By next year, more voters will understand how much Obamacare costs them. Will they wake up and boot from office all those who voted for Obamacare?

Did Congressman Daines play politics with his vote?

Does he think he has the Republican primary race for US Senate wrapped up? He may be correct in this. Then does he think his vote with the Democrats will get him more Democrat votes in his final election?

We all know his one vote did not change the outcome of the House vote. This was a vote on principle and Daines failed to support his constituents.

Our Supreme Court ruled Obamacare was a tax bill. Therefore, Daines voted for new taxes on top of the taxes we already pay.

All tax bills must originate in the House and receive 2/3 vote in the Senate. Obamacare originated in the Senate and did not get 2/3 vote in the Senate. Therefore, Obamacare is illegal. Daines voted for it anyway.

Steve Daines has become part of the We Can’t Win” Wimps Caucus aptly described by Pat Buchanan here.

The political question for the 2014 Montana race for US Senate is not

Who will run for Congress so they don’t run against Steve Daines for US Senate?


Who will run against Steve Daines for US Senate so we can elect a Senator who will not cave in to the Democrats?”

See also: Ken Miller says Daines’ vote opposing 144 Republicans was “prudent”



Ms. Mae Woo
517 Lavender Street
Billings, MT 59106-2387

Dear Ms. Woo:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the recent legislation (H.R. 2775) that reopened the federal government thru January 15, 2014 and prevented our country from hitting the debt ceiling until at least February 7, 2014. I value your point of view and appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Like you, I am deeply frustrated that this legislation virtually guarantees that in just a few short months, we’ll be back at square one, facing another debt ceiling crisis. I was also disappointed that the President and Democrat majority in the Senate refused to discuss either delaying ObamaCare, prohibiting members of Congress from receiving special treatment under the law, or providing basic fairness for working Americans who, unlike large businesses, have not received a one-year reprieve from ObamaCare’s insurance mandates. This disastrous law is already creating hardships on the American people, and I remain fully committed to repealing it. In short, therefore, I agree that the legislation was a missed opportunity to address our nation’s debt crisis and engage in a much-needed conversation about meaningful solutions that address unsustainable federal spending, balance the budget, and spare Americans from ObamaCare.

I did, nonetheless, believe that the federal government needed to reopen and that it would be irresponsible to risk default on our obligations. I was also glad that the measure retained the largest spending cuts in a generation that were achieved in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and will prevent individuals from fraudulently receiving ObamaCare subsidies by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to verify that these individuals are in fact eligible to do so. The Obama Administration had previously announced that they would rely largely on an honor system when determining income eligibility for subsidies in states that create their own exchange, which I believe simply invited widespread fraud and waste into the program. For these reasons, I reluctantly voted in favor of the legislation.

With that said, I wholeheartedly agree with you and many other Montanans that another band-aid is not the solution to our country’s long-term fiscal problems and that we must continue to fight against ObamaCare. As Congress revisits these issues in the coming few months, please know that I will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind and will continue to work tirelessly to achieve these critically important goals.

Again, thanks for contacting me. It is my number one priority in Congress to represent the values and interests of the people of Montana, and your input is very helpful as I do. I invite you to visit my website,, to sign up for periodic email updates on the issues important to you. I won’t flood your email box, but I will provide you with updates once in a while about activities in Washington that affect our lives in Montana. I hope you will sign up so that we can stay in close touch, and I look forward to hearing from you again in the future.

SteveDainesSignature (4426)

Copyright (c) 2013 by PolyMontana LLC or by the author. All rights reserved.


  1. 1

    Excellent points Ed. Thanks for articulating them.
    Here are Roger Koopman’s comments on the matter:

    “Thanks for the excellent thoughts.
    Below is a short response I wrote some folks who e-mailed me about Steve’s vote a few days ago. (Feel free to pass along.)

    The sad truth is that once a person compromises on principle, it becomes progressively easier to compromise again and again. That’s where I predict Steve Daines is going to end up. I only wish we had someone more worthy to run for the senate seat…

    Kind regards,


    “Steve’s vote, of course, is indefensible, and for many of us who had
    viewed him as a “genuine conservative” — inexplicable.

    As I have discovered over and over again from my years in politics, the
    defense of the republic boils down to one word: courage. There are many
    who will talk the talk with sparkling rhetoric at Lincoln Day events. FEW
    are they who have the courage of their convictions, when faced with
    possible political repercussions or the prospects of standing alone.
    Alas, these “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” have no true
    conviction at all — only preferences that wax and wane with the latest
    political calculation. In Steve’s case, apparently having a few lefties
    picket his Bozeman office was enough to drive him into the coward’s

    Had our founders been cut of the same cloth, we would still be a colony
    with a king.”

    Roger Koopman

  2. 2

    I have had people approach me about handling a case to challenge Obamacare on the ground that you mentioned, Ed; namely, that since the US S CT determined the ACA was a “tax” then the constitutional rules of how to enact a tax are invoked. Therefore, since Obamacare did not pass as a tax, it is, in toto, unconstitutional.

  3. 3

    More rambling about who the “true” conservatives are. Purity tests and public backbiting are the reasons we have people like Bullock and Tester in office for many more years.

    The reason it is the Republican “party” is not because we’re the Borg, all jacked into one collective consciousness. It’s because people generally agree about most things and can have disagreements on others. Do you think a Rep. Kim Gillan would be anything but cheerleading for Obamacare? Do you think a Rep. Kim Gillan would be voting in favor of pro-life legislation or going around the state promoting anything but a big-government agenda?

    It should tell you something that some of the only people to read this blog are left wingers immediately wanting to spray REPUBLICAN INFIGHTING across the Internet. Even Reagan gave us the 11th Commandment, one which you have no trouble spending all your free time breaking. While you spend all your time backbiting any politician who doesn’t vote EXACTLY how you like on EVERY single piece of legislation, Democrats are turning right wingers against each other and smiling all the way to election win after election win.

    At some point you might actually considering what you’re doing with your time. Are you building enough coalitions to actually win at the ballot box and affect policy? Or are you stroking your own ego publicly with this self-aggrandizing and constant criticism of people who you’d probably find you agree with much more often than not? What was he supposed to do? Let the American people and WW2 veterans continue to be barricaded out of memorials on Obama’s whim?

    You know the mainstream media is in the left’s pocket, yet you feed right into their pre-conceived narrative of the right. Have enough self awareness to know when you’re actually providing anything worthwhile and furthering your principles and when you’re just grandstanding. One of the reasons a mostly conservative state crosses over and votes Democratic most of the time is elements of the fringe like yourself who would rather inflate his own ego with the 10 other nuts he can find on the Internet to agree with him than actually build bridges with the other conservatives in the state.

    Take some responsibility for your work in making sure that Democrats keep getting elected in this state, because that’s all the net end results of your purity tests and backbiting is producing. If you really were for the Constitution and against socialism, you wouldn’t spend all your time taking actions that get the socialists elected over and over again.

  4. 4
    Gloria Roark says:

    Daines’s vote was very disappointing. I expected more of him and many of us in our Tea Party supported him through contributions, campaigning, and voting. I felt he spoke with clarity and integrity, but it appears that Washington has “cast a spell on him.” He has lost touch with his base, and has been enamored with the elitists who are drunk with power. He has proven to be indecisive in jumping from the Senate race (for Rehberg’s sake?) to the House, and now is rumored to be running for the Senate again. He was elected to represent the people, however, has insulated himself from the very folks who supported him. It is very scary, indeed, to see him hopping to another seat, when he had so much more to learn as a Congressman. This indecisiveness alone worries me. We need real Statesmen and Stateswomen in Congress who love their country and are willing to be courageous, as Roger has stated, and SERVE THE PEOPLE. Our country is in a very precarious position at this time in our history, and can no longer elect people who are interested in political careers and power. Surely Montana must have a States Person who can step up to the plate, and do the job at hand. We are slowly becoming a Blue State.

  5. 5

    So Tim, will you be challenging the Obama Insurance mandate?

  6. 6

    Will “I” be challenging Obama Insurance mandate? “I” cannot do anything by myself. A person must have standing to bring an action in court. So far, I have seen no potential client that has standing. If I see the right case (meaning, the right facts are presented to best challenge the law), then I can consider taking such a case.

  7. 7

    How is it that environmental groups have “standing”?

    Ninth Circuit Court Issues Injunction Halting Kootenai Forest Timber Sale

  8. 8
    Roger Koopman says:

    I appreciate Ed’s integrity in correcting comments made earlier that he no longer believes. I too had made some hasty remarks about Steve Daine’s vote on HR 2775 – based on a considerable amount of misleading information that was being disseminated about the bill itself. I should have known better. I should have called Steve first.

    I’ve been out of town for quite some time, but I have since spoken with Steve at some length, and I did indeed misjudge him, for which I apologize. Steve does not have the greatest conservative voting record thusfar, so it was easy for me to jump to conclusions about the 2775 vote. That’s no excuse.

    Truth is, the GOP congressional leadership really blew it in the way they framed this bill. It was clearly not a vote on defunding Obama Health Control (aka, Obamacare.) Appropriations are embedded in the enabling legislation itself, and defunding, as I understand it, would require the repeal of Obamacare itself. (Tim Baldwin makes some very interesting points about separate legislation, but I think a repealer may be our only option.) The House Republicans should have made clear from the start that the fight was over suicidal government spending in general, not the defunding of Obamacare.

    Steve made the strategic judgment that the Rs were rapidly losing political ground the longer the so-called “government shutdown” continued. Because of the weak and relatively non-confrontational way the GOP confronted the issue, Steve was essentially right. They were certainly not winning the hearts and minds of the American people over it! They squandered that opportunity, pure and simple.

    Pragmatic politics aside, had I been in Congress, I would have still voted against the bill, even under these circumstances. I say this for two reasons:

    (1) At the end of the day, the fight to save the republic is less about the fine-tuning of legislative strategies and “political gamesmanship”, and much more about building a movement and spreading the truth. Many of these votes have more symbolic value in rallying the troops and holding out hope, than they have any real significance in the direction we are going. Congressmen are in a position to play a special leadership role in this regard. Those who “stood firm” and voted against HR 2775 were trying to do just that. Those who helped pass the bill and end the “shutdown” – regardless if their justifications – were seen as playing the harlot, and as undermining the resolve and vitality of the freedom movement itself. Like Robert the Bruce when he joined Longshanks’ army in “Braveheart”, these “trusted conservatives” were seen by our brave warriors in the field as deserters and as having simply joined the other side.

    (2) If their strategy had shifted and the GOP started coming out swinging on the insanity of federal spending – telling the truth and sounding the alarm day after day after day – never relenting and never giving up, I truly believe the so-called “government shutdown” issue would have turned in the favor of freedom. Eventually, Americans would have “gotten it,” if the Republicans hadn’t given up. By caving on this issue, they trivialized everything they previously said they stood for. It was worse than if they had never taken the stand in the first place.

    So my conclusion is that Steve Daines and I have an honest disagreement on this. I still, on balance, do not agree with how he voted. But like Ed, I also seriously misjudged Steve when, like many, I connected his vote with Obamacare. I should have done my homework. And consequently, I was wrong when I (essentially) characterized his actions as cowardly. I jumped the gun. I know better. And for that I apologize.

    Roger Koopman

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