Sunday, February 19, 2017

Zinke's a no-show in U.S. House while waiting for cabinet confirmation

Montana’s lone voice in the U.S. House of Representatives has been silent for more than six weeks. Republican Ryan Zinke was still hanging around the Capitol last week -- one Huffington Post reporter tweeted on Thursday that Zinke was “spotted wearing jeans in the Senate,” an hour or so after another noted he was “hanging around the House floor, without a tie, living, if not his best life, at least a better life.” In a process that looks like it’ll stretch into March (see related story), Zinke awaits Senate confirmation to become President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Interior. His last vote on the floor of the House came on Jan. 5, the third day of the Congressional session. That comes as a surprise to Pat Williams of Missoula, a Democrat who served in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1997. “Entirely,” Williams said Friday. “He’s no doubt working on his acquaintances and interests at the department, and he’s certainly got a lot of work to do there. But I can’t imagine him missing all the votes. Montana then has no vote in the House.” Zinke, who was elected to a second at-large term in November with 56 percent of the Montana vote, has remained active on at least two Facebook accounts. He has tweeted or retweeted on occasion since the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved his nomination by a 16-6 vote on Jan. 17. But he has issued no press releases since mid-December. (Heather Swift, his communications director in Washington, has already moved over to the Department of Interior, as has Micah Chambers, Zinke’s deputy chief of staff.)...more

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