Max Sieben Baucus (born December 11, 1941) is the senior United States Senator from Montana and is a member of the Democratic Party. Baucus is currently chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and 10th longest-serving current Senator.
He began law practice in Missoula, Montana, in 1971. He was Executive Director and Committee Coordinator for Montana's 1972 Constitutional Convention.
Baucus is the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, which he last chaired from 2001 to 2003. He is also a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Baucus is a moderate member of the Democratic Party, frequently breaking with them on the issues of taxes, the environment, and gun control. Baucus voted for the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and stood by President George W. Bush's side as he signed the bill. He has usually voted against repealing the portions of that bill and more recent tax cut bills that benefit upper income taxpayers. Baucus voted in favor of the Brady Bill and the first ban on semi-automatic firearms in exchange for the appointment of a Montana lawyer to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but is otherwise opposed to most new gun control laws. In 1999, he was the only Democrat to vote against an amendment by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) that sought to "regulate the sale of firearms at gunshows." His environmental record is mixed. Baucus supports Democratic leadership in voting against oil and gas subsidies and ANWR drilling, as well as by voting in favor national standards to reduce oil consumption and spur the use of hydrogren automobiles. However, he has voted against the CAFE emission standards and on increasing federal funds for solar and wind power.
Baucus voted for the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which made it harder to declare personal bankruptcy. In 2006, he voted for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the physical desecration of the American flag. He supports the death penalty. On other issues, Baucus is more in the mainstream of his party. He is pro-choice and receives 100 percent ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America and other reproductive rights advocacy groups. He opposes the United States embargo against Cuba and the restrictions on travel there. He was one of 26 senators to vote against the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Despite opposing gay marriage, he voted against a proposed constitutional ban on it and has supported measures to curb job discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Baucus also favored a bill that will require online pornography sites to have a .XXX domain, together with Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) Baucus is a strong supporter of Israel. In the Senate, he is one of the largest career recipients of pro-Israel Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions, $319,348 up to 2006.
Overall, Baucus has reatained a populist image that has kept him consistently popular in his home state. He has frequently visited places of employment in his state and has personally participated, performing activities that he calls "Work Days." He has also hosted economic development conferences within his state and can be frequently found hunting and fishing on public lands around Montana
In 2006, Baucus returned $18,892 in contributions from groups connected to Jack Abramoff. In the December 22, 2005, edition of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Baucus admitted campaign finance violations.
In February 2008, Baucus touted success in preventing a coal bed methane project that was proposed by BP Canada in British Columbia, Canada. He claimed that this project would have had environmental impacts in Montana which is downstream from the project. It was later revealed that this project was not in fact canceled, and British Columbia Energy Minister Richard Neufeld characterized Baucus' claims by saying: "If Max Baucus says the sun is shining, the first thing you do is go out and have a look. This wasn't the first time that Baucus mis-reported accomplishments to the people of Montana. In 2005, he claimed to have secured funding for a runway at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Although he called it a "done deal" when reporting it to Montana press, the language was stripped from the bill and never became law.
Baucus had voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, but has joined the Democrats in the Senate in demanding the phased withdrawal of the Levin Amendment (no firm deadline). He voted with a majority of Democrats against the Kerry Amendment (firm deadline for withdrawal).
It was reported on August 1 2006 that Baucus' nephew Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus (September 24, 1977–July 29, 2006) was killed in combat in Al Anbar province, Iraq, on July 29. Phillip Baucus, a 28-year-old resident of Wolf Creek, Montana, had been a member of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. The funeral was the site of protests by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Baucus will seek re-election in 2008, in a state that has been undergoing political change since 2004 when it elected Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, and then Democratic Senator Jon Tester in 2006 by a slim margin. The state was the only one in the U.S. to switch a chamber of its legislature to Republican control in 2006. The legislative chamber had a one-seat Democratic majority that switched to a one-seat Republican majority.
Baucus has raised a record amount of money for his 2008 re-election bid, 91 percent of which has come from individuals living outside of Montana. As a result of his significant fund raising advantage, in the week that he announced his intentions to run for re-election, he opened eight state offices - one more than he has official offices in the state. He also announced that he had hired 35 full-time campaign staff members.