Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) gave Donald Trump a report card that, she says, would not be “that generous” towards the president, which raises concerns about her reelection chances given that North Dakotans overwhelmingly approve of the president.
At a a health care discussion at Bismarck Municipal Country Club on Monday, one audience member asked Sen. Heitkamp,“If you were a school teacher what kind of report card would you give our president?”
Heitkamp responded, “I once said, ‘Incomplete,’ but I would tell you today I don’t think I’d be that generous.”
Sen. Heitkamp continues to criticize the president, whereas a recent Gallup poll revealed that 59% of North Dakotans approve of his performance.
Heitkamp also continues to attempt to halt President Trump’s agenda, voting against bills that would improve local North Dakota oil and gas producers, opposing vital Trump cabinet nominees, and refusing to work with the president and his party on significant legislation such as health care, tax reform, and infrastructure.
Ron Ness, the Petroleum Council president, professed that the Senate and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp should have voted to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s Waste Prevention rule.Ness charged:
Instead, the Senate and specifically Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., should have voted to repeal this rule and to allow the state primacy and regulatory authority. The state already has some of the most stringent rules in the nation, and the industry has invested more than $13 billion in infrastructure to capture more natural gas. This has led to a 54 percent decrease in flaring in just a few short years.
Ness explained that the Bureau’s regulation also creates more than 82,000 paperwork hours for Bureau employees and costs taxpayers $270 million per year for little environmental impact. Ness added that the rule decreased North Dakota royalties by more than $39.1 million, and potentially impacted nearly 2,780 wells in North Dakota.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke professed:
The rule is expected to have real and harmful impacts on onshore energy development and could impact state and local jobs and revenue. Small independent oil and gas producers in states like North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico, which account for a substantial portion of our nation’s energy wealth, could be hit the hardest.
The vote to repeal the rule using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) failed after Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sided with Democrats to shoot down the bill that would eliminate the onerous government regulation.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) remains an outlier in North Dakota, which has the second highest approval rating of any state; only West Virginia surpasses Sen. Heitkamp’s home state.
Heitkamp voted against confirming Education Secretary Betsy Devos, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Sen. Heitkamp faces a difficult reelection in 2018; the North Dakota Democratic senator only won by a one percent margin of victory in 2012. In 2016, North Dakota voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by an staggering rate of 64 to 28 percent.
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Michael McAdams contends that Sen. Heitkamp remains out of touch with the average North Dakotan.
“Heidi Heitkamp’s latest comments show she is completely out-of-touch with the needs of everyday North Dakotans,” said McAdams. “Instead of joining with Washington liberals to oppose President Trump, Heidi Heitkamp should be working to implement the agenda North Dakotans overwhelming voted to support last November.”