The difference between Jon and Max

by Pete Talbot

Well, there are a lot of differences between Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, and some similarities, too.

And, IMHO. Jon isn’t perfect and Max isn’t all bad. As a matter of fact, if you compare Max to Rep. Denny Rehberg, Max looks like a compassionate, progressive statesman — but that isn’t setting the bar very high.

I think this vote speaks volumes, though. The original bill came out of the house as part of the $410 billion omnibus appropriations act (HR 1105). But the senate had to vote specifically on whether members of congress should vote on getting an automatic cost of living raise. Jon voted against the automatic raise. Max voted for it.

It’s hard to tell where Denny is on this one. He voted against HR 1105 but then that was a huge appropriations bill and the pay raise was just a tiny portion of it. He was NOT a co-signer of HR 156, which is a house bill denying the automatic pay raise that’s still in committee. This bill had 112 co-signers from both sides of the aisle, so I’m guessing that Denny, the 15th richest member of the house, is all for a pay increase but we’ll have to wait and see.

Maybe I’m missing something here.  Most Democrats voted the same way Baucus did and most Republicans voted with Tester.  But the Democrats that I have the most respect for, like Russ Feingold out of Wisconsin, voted with Tester.

Oh, and by the way, Max and Denny, how’s your taxpayer-paid health care treating you these days?


  1. i for one, would like to see max get frustrated with blue cross or some other private insurer or HMO over every little detail of every intentionally fraudulent denial of coverage like the rest of us do every time we get something done…

  2. Oyster Pirate

    Not sure about how it works now but here’s how it used to go: when “congressmen gave themselves a raise” it was part of a cost-of-living increase for ALL Federal employees, including members of Congress. The media reported “congressmen gave themselves an x-thousand dollar pay raise” while ignoring that most of what happened was a bunch of people getting a 2% or so COLA increase. That’s about 30 cents/hr for your average GS-peon. Repubs get to vote against money for a group of voters which typically goes to the Ds, and grandstand about it to boot. Dems are helping out a unionized workforce. That would explain Denny and Max but not Tester. Maybe he’s grandstanding; maybe he laid up knowing it’d pass anyway and he’s up for reelection sooner than Max. A deal between him and Baucus, perhaps?
    Don’t know if the legeslation still works that way — is Congressional pay now a vote separate from the rest of the Gov’t? Help me out here, folks.

  3. Pete Talbot

    I believe this vote was just for congressional pay raises. In the past you’d be right, Oyster Pirate. My take: Tester voted his conscience and Max, who knows? Denny basically voted against federal employees. We have yet to see how he votes on his own pay raise.

  4. Oyster Pirate

    Thanks. I knew there was talk of changing how all that was done, but never really figured out what became of it. It was never well reported-on — easier to “gotcha” congressmen than explain why it was year after year they’d do something which seemed corrupt, ie voting themselves pay raises. Thanks again for clarifying…




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