Sen. Tester Promotes Infrastructure Bill In Missoula
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester stopped in Missoula Thursday as he tours parts of Montana to sell a bipartisan infrastructure package that could land in Congress later this month.
Tester describes the package as a once-in-a-century investment in infrastructure for the country.
Tester spoke Thursday near the under-construction Beartracks Bridge on Higgins Avenue to drive his point about infrastructure.
“That’s a bridge that meets 21st century demand, and I think that’s what’s important here,” Tester says.
He says the $1.2 trillion bill, which includes nearly $580 billion of new spending, will provide significant investment in roads, bridges, airports and broadband in Montana without imposing new taxes.
“It will be one of the most impactful non-emergency bills, once it’s passed, in the nation’s history,” Tester says.
During his pitch, Tester focused on the bill he helped create with a bipartisan group of lawmakers that focuses on traditional infrastructure — things like roads, bridges and sewers.
However, its fate may be tied to a separate package Democrats are pushing to increase spending on social welfare programs for education, housing and child care. These policy goals could advance through the fast-track budgeting process known as reconciliation.
That’s a process that Senate Republicans, including Sen. Steve Daines, are worried about.
In an emailed statement, a Daines spokesperson says the senator is concerned with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s comments that her chamber won’t move forward until both the infrastructure and reconciliation bills are considered at the same time. Daines has also expressed concern over the price tag that comes with the bipartisan bill.
Tester says preliminary language of the bill might be out Friday, and that senator leadership could set a hearing for the bipartisan bill sometime later this month.