Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Senators Split On Budget Deal

U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

Montana’s two U.S. Senators split over the merits of an $80 billion spending bill that was passed in the early morning hours Friday. But they both pointed to the budget deal as a symptom of Washington dysfunction.

Democrat Jon Tester was part of the majority that approved the budget deal in a three-a.m. vote. But in a floor speech Thursday night he said the process that led to the bill was broken, that Senators could have negotiated the bill over the summer, instead of waiting until just hours before the deadline.

“Why does it take in an emergency for Congress to govern?” Tester asked. “Why does it take a looming deadline for folks to come to their senses and to do their jobs? Because the voices of the middle are getting drowned out by the voices on the fringes.”

Republican Steve Daines voted against the bill. He joined other farm-state Senators in condemning cuts in federal subsidies for crop insurance.

“The crop insurance program was gutted as a way to make this deal work. Where was the voice of Montana? Where was the voice of rural America as this backroom deal was cut?” Daines said.

What Daines calls “gutting” amounts to a three-percent drop in crop insurance funding, with the money coming out of the profit margins of the insurers, not the benefits paid to farmers. Daines also condemned the whole idea of raising the debt ceiling, calling it raising the limit on the nation’s credit card, when Congress should be doing more to cut spending. The bill heads off a potential government shutdown until well after the 2016 election.

Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content