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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tester Balks At Budget Deal: 'Wired To Fight'

In response to Montana GOP criticism over his choice to vote against ending the government shutdown Monday, Democratic Senator Jon Tester fired back, "I'm wired to fight. I thought there was a better way to do this."

Congress has approved an agreement to reopen the federal government after a three-day shutdown.

The deal is now on its way to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Montana Republicans today were quick to pile-on U.S. Senator Jon Tester for voting against ending the government shutdown.

State GOP Chair Debra Lamm, for instance, issued a press release saying Tester continues “to pursue this hostage-taking strategy to protect illegal immigrants over our military, seniors and children.” Democrat

Tester fired back, saying he doesn’t much care what his critics think.

“I’m wired to fight. I thought there was a better way to do this. In fact, if (the late Senator) Mike Mansfield was alive right now he’d be shaking his head in total disgust because you gotta work together to get things done. Nobody’s paying attention back here right now,” Tester said.

The budget measure needed 60 votes, but 18 senators, including Tester, balked.

He said a short term-budget lends no certainty to the military, border security or rural health clinics.

Last week, Tester suggested 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.

Tester says most of those bills have already passed out of committee.

“The ones that are left aren’t that complicated. I guarantee you we could package those in a week really easily. It’s just a matter of having the will to do something around here instead of just sitting on our hands,” he said.

Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines voted to end the government shutdown as did Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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