How do you change the government? Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale, playing the long game, says 'one bite at a time'

House votes on COVID aid, government spending package; Senate to follow

Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram reports from Washington on ‘Hannity’

Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale has a lot of ideas. 

In an interview with Fox News, the self-labeled "policy geek" rattled off a laundry list of things he wants to get done in Congress.

The Republican representative-elect from Montana said he'd like to make the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent; institute immunity for businesses that may be subject to frivolous coronavirus lawsuits; relax regulations; expand rural broadband; build broadband networks into current infrastructure projects; and allow businesses to expense real estate investments and improvements. 

And don't forget about the rest of his "eight-point plan" to get the economy going again.

The former state legislator and state auditor who ran for Senate in 2018 compares solving complex policy issues to "a Rubik's cube" and says "I really, really enjoy digging down into the details."

Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., has a laundry list of things he wants to get done in Congress but says he understands the way to "eat an elephant" is "one bite at a time." (Matt Rosendale)

Of course, the federal government moves at a snail's pace. Congress is perpetually gridlocked. And he's about to enter the House as a member of the minority party with a Democrat president. 

But Rosendale says he recognizes it might take years to get done even a fraction of his agenda and is okay with that — and is willing to reach across the aisle to Democrats to make his ideas.

"I truly believe it's the old expression: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time," Rosendale said. "So am I going to be able to get any of these major agenda issues through? Probably not. I'm realistic. I'm not naive."

But, Rosendale added: "What I can do is start forming relationships with people that want to work on those same issues and then find if there's any little grain of common ground that we can find together to pass instead of one of these monumental, tremendous, pieces of legislation that touch every part of the economy."

"I would much prefer that we had a single-subject bill that did one little thing … and did it well," he continued. "I believe you do one thing at a time, you do it well, and then you move on."

Rosendale may face an uphill battle on that front. Congress just pushed through a massive $2.3 trillion package that included both a coronavirus stimulus deal that took lawmakers several months to hammer out and a must-pass, year-end omnibus bill to fund the federal government. 

Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., has experience as both a state legislator and a member of his state’s executive branch. (Matt Rosendale)

It's been derisively termed the "coronabus."

Even as he's willing to work across the aisle, Rosendale is still fundamentally a conservative Republican. He's touted his anti-abortion m and pro-Second Amendment stances and aims to cut government spending. He's also attacked "defund the police" rhetoric from Democrats, partially crediting Americans rejecting that rhetoric for his electoral win. 

"When they started talking about the redistribution of tax dollars to reduce spending on police departments — short version, defunding police," Rosendale said, "this wasn't just in Seattle and this wasn't just in Kenosha. This was proposed in Helena, Montana. This was proposed in Missoula, Montana, in Bozeman, Montana. And when people saw that they gave it a flat rejection."

Rosendale represents Montana as an at-large member of Congress, meaning that he represents the whole state instead of just one part of it. That means his district is the second-largest in the country behind only Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

"It's not only a large area, but it's the largest district by population in the nation. And it is very diverse," Rosendale said of his district. "We have everything from the rolling plains of Eastern Montana where the agricultural areas are and the ranching communities are to the high tech are of Bozeman and the mining community around Butte and the timber mills in the western part of the state." 

February on Lake MacDonald in US Glacier National Park in Montana. Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., called Montana "one of the most beautiful places that you can possibly visit."

Rosendale added: "We have an incredibly large veteran and active military community. Ten percent of our population is either active military or veterans. … We have Malmstrom Air Force Base, which is responsible for about 140 ICBMs. So we've for part of the nation's defense system located in our state. There's a lot going on."

Because of the diverse interests represented, Rosendale said he's willing to serve on a variety of committees. He mentioned the Financial Services Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Agriculture Committee. 

"I'm very willing to plug a hole wherever they would like me to go, because if I am serving on a committee that I'm not familiar with, the information that is coming before us, I will do the research and make myself familiar with it and make sure that I can be an extremely large contributor to that to that process," Rosendale said. 

His only specific request, fitting with his policy wonkiness, is that he wants a role with the Republican Study Committee. 

Rosendale enthusiastically accepted an endorsement from President Trump during his election, just as many Republicans have. Also like many Republicans, he's so far refused to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won his election. When asked if Trump should concede in early December, Rosendale said "I think that you go through the legal process … on all issues, that's what we do. This country has established due process."

Since then, the Electoral College voted for Joe Biden 306-232. Rosendale has not made any public statements on the election results in the meantime. 

Source: Read Full Article