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Montana Senators Sound-Off On Government Shutdown

Montana Sen. Jon Tester (L) and Sen. Steve Daines (R)
Montana Public Radio
Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Steve Daines this week spoke out about the border wall and the government shutdown.

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, Montana's U.S. Senators are speaking out about it, and the border wall that's at the heart of the shutdown.

Here's Republican Steve Daines in a video clip he sent to the media after President Trump's televised address Tuesday night.

"I agree with President Trump. We have a crisis on our southern border. Mexican meth is coming into Montana and destroying families across our state. Congress must come together and do the right thing. And until they do so, they shouldn't get paid."

Daines has requested for his pay to be withheld during the shutdown.

"I think that the government shutdown is ridiculous, and I think the thinking Republicans out there are saying 'this is truly ridiculous, let's open the government.'"

That's Democratic Senator Jon Tester in an interview on NPR's Here and Now Wednesday.

Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor, Tester demanded a vote to re-open the federal government.

"And I think there’s enough votes to do it. I think there’s enough votes to override a veto. And the majority leader’s response was, 'no, we’re not going to do this, we want to take up a bill on Israel.' I’m telling you, I’m a big supporter of Israel, but I take an oath of office to protect this country first! And we’re turning our back on this country."

Tester said the president has vastly increased his estimate of the cost of the wall, and that while there are places where a wall is appropriate, he says technology and other means can be more effective at a lower price.

Correction 01-10-19: An earlier version of this post contained the wrong video for Sen. Tester's speech on the Senate floor. We reget the error.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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