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Bipartisan U.S. Senate bill aiding veterans exposed to burn pits edges toward passage

The U.S. Senate is set to approve a sweeping bill in the coming days steered by the bipartisan duo of Montana's Jon Tester and Kansas' Jerry Moran that would expand health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits overseas — though a few final details linger.... Read more»

Senate votes to overturn Biden vaccine mandate for businesses

Senate Republicans, with the support of Democratic Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted to scrap President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate that would require vaccinations at private businesses with 100 or more employees. ... Read more»

Biden's nomination of federal land manager overshadowed by 1989 tree-spiking case

Tracy Stone-Manning and a former federal investigator during the past few days shared widely varying accounts of her involvement in a 1989 tree-spiking in an Idaho national forest, as the fight over the Montanan’s nomination to lead the U.S. Bureau of Land Management escalated.... Read more»

Montana conservationist to be tapped to head U.S. Bureau of Land Management

President Joe Biden intends to nominate National Wildlife Federation senior adviser and veteran Montana Democrat Tracy Stone-Manning to direct the Bureau of Land Management, an individual familiar with the process confirmed to States Newsroom Wednesday. ... Read more»

Forest Service chief confident on wildfires despite proposed budget cut

The Forest Service faces a $970 million budget cut in 2018, but the agency's chief said he is confident the service will have the resources to battle wildfires next year, although he acknowledged that President Trump’s budget proposes “very difficult reductions in some very important programs.”... Read more»

Senate panel weighs plan to rein in Border Patrol overtime

A Senate committee was urged Monday to fix the “hopelessly broken” overtime policy for Border Patrol agents, by boosting agents’ base pay but cutting any extra pay they would otherwise get for overtime hours.... Read more»

Az educators praise early-childhood program for Native Americans

Arizona educators Wednesday praised a Bureau of Indian Education program that gets Native American parents actively engaged in the education of their children from birth until kindergarten. Arizona has eight of the nation’s 43 Family and Child Education, or FACE sites, which assist tribal families in home-based, early childhood and adult education, and job training.... Read more»

Border Patrol pay reform would cut agents’ take-home, but add stability

Reforming the Border Patrol pay system could save taxpayers $1 billion over the next decade, while giving peace of mind to agents whose pay has been threatened by sequestration, said supporters of a bill introduced by Sens. John McCain and Jon Tester on Wednesday.... Read more»

GOP takes hard line on health-care overhaul, look for Democratic allies

Republicans aren't softening their tough criticism of the health law even as they seek Democratic allies to join them in their bid to repeal the overhaul. ... Read more»