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Tester Admonishes Congress For Treading Water On Federal Spending Bill

Senator Jon Tester (D) - Montana
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester expressed his frustration with Congress to pass a spending bill on Thursday as a government shutdown looms.

Senator Jon Tester blasted his colleagues in Congress today for continued failure to pass a long-term federal spending bill.

Congress has been relying on short-term spending bills to support vital programs since government funding ran out 110 days ago.

Another deadline looms Friday evening, and the nation could be facing a government shutdown if the House and Senate fail to pass a funding measure.

Montana’s Democratic senator says he doesn’t want to see that, but says it is already somewhat of a reality.

“By the same token what we're seeing is a slow burn that is actually ending up as a government shutdown in de facto. Every month there's so much uncertainty going on that people are home are saying, ‘What's going on back there?’” he said.

Tester called the back-to-back stop-gap measures a “failure of leadership” and a “disgrace.” He said many bills that have already been introduced individually could be packaged into a single spending bill that would last through the end of the fiscal year in September.

“We know what needs to be funded. We know our borders need to be made secure. We know our military needs some money. We know that CHIP needs to be funded, we know that community health centers [need to be funded], so let’s sit down and figure it out,” Tester said.

The House is currently considering a bill to extend government funding through February 16. Tester did not explicitly say whether he would support that bill but added he would not be opposed to a very short-term fix if it led to a long-term solution.

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