Havre Daily News: Tester hopeful for bipartisan work to happen in Congress

by Tim Leeds

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in a telephonic press conference from Washington last week that he hopes the midterm election sends a message that leads to more bipartisan work in Congress – and the state Legislature – next year.

“I think what needs to happen, moving forward, I think the American people in general said, ‘We want folks to work together to get things done.'”

Tester said people elected in both the Legislature and Congress can work together to make things happen.

“There are a lot of good candidates up and down the ballot in Montana,” he said, “and regardless of the outcomes I remain committed on working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep Montana the last best place.”

He cited bipartisan work that has passed in the past two years as an example of what can be done.

“We’ve had an incredibly productive Congress this past year, the last two years, passing things like the bipartisan infrastructure law to modernize Montana’s roads, bridges, high-speed internet, electrical transmission. We also passed my bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which is going to bring jobs back home and boost our manufacturing capacity in the process and in the process and in the end will lower costs for consumers.

“These are bipartisan accomplishments and great examples of what can be done if we prioritize the people of Montana over partisan special interests, and I plan to build on that as we go into in this lame duck session,” he said.

He said he hopes that can happen in the Legislature, and in the next session of Congress.

He said he asked Sen. Dan Inouye, who was in the body more than 50 years and who died in 2012, about the division in Congress.

Inouye said the body was incredibly divided n the 1960s while it debated civil rights, then it simply changed. Tester said Inouye said he didn’t know why it changed.

“I think this election might be one of those change agents, and I hope it is,” Tester said. “As sitting senators, we know that a lot of people out there are tired of the political bickering and want us to go together and get together to work for the betterment of the nation. That’s what i got out of the election, and I hope theres 99 other folks in the Senate that got the same thing.

” … A lot of this stuff has been just for sheer politics. I win, you lose, and were going to make you look bad and me look good, and that’s real unfortunate, and I think thats what people said in the election,” Tester said. “‘We don’t want that any more.'”


He said a top priority for the country in the next session should be to continue to focus on inflation reduction, work like the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act.

Tester said that act put more energy in the marketplace and allowed negotiation prescription drug prices for senior citizens, but it’s just a start.

“We can’t take the foot off the gas back here in Washington, D.C.,” he said, adding that Congress needs to continue to look for ways to reduce inflation.

“I also think that there are other things we can do in the supply chain arena that will help, and when I have talked with businesses, there are supply chain problems domestically, but there are huge supply chain problems in the international arena, so thats why passing things like the CHIPS act is really important, bringing that manufacture and those jobs back to this country,” Tester said. “I think we need to continue to look for opportunities like that, to bring jobs back to our country, and Montana can certainly be a part of that.”


He said another huge issue is reducing the traffic in fentanyl, and he has sponsored a bill to budget $20 billion to get technology to the law enforcement on the ground to detect and seize drugs, and another to provide equipment to safely store it.

“This isn’t a red or blue issue,” Tester said, “This is an American issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get these bills passed and keep our law enforcement officers our state and our nation safe.”

But, he added, as long as the demand is there, smugglers will find ways to get it in, so education and reducing the demand also is key.

“In the meantime, I’m going to continue to give our Department of Homeland Security folks the tools they need to not only survive but aggressively go after this garbage,” he said.

Tester said stopping the flow of the drugs – and the demand – is crucial.

“The problem with drugs, and fentanyl is one of the worst, is it just destroys families, and if you destroy families you destroy communities,” he said ” … That’s why we are concerned about it; that’s why communities should be concerned about it, why communities are concerned about it.”

” … Do I think that passing this bill is going to stop the fentanyl cold from coming across the border? No. It’s not, but it’s gonna help, and I think if you get enough of these tools in the toolbox, you can get it shut down and this is one of the tools were working on.”


Tester also said he hopes enough people realize the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine to stop the ones who are talking about cutting off aid to it in the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.

“I think that the folks that are out there saying, ‘Will you elect me, I’m not gonna vote for any support for Ukraine,’ (and that) is a big mistake, I think its a huge mistake,” he said.

Tester said when he recently visited that part of Euope and talked to U.S. soldiers and leaders in U.S.-allied countries in the region he saw the importance of continued aid.

“I mean, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin went across the line in Ukraine for no reason whatsoever; he did it just cause he could, and if you think a person that does that is gonna stop if they’re successful in Ukraine, we’re kiddin’ ourselves,” he said, “I think that its really important that the folks that are out there sayin’, ‘no, no, no, no, no,’ and there are a bunch of them that are, get educated in the issues there. You can make excuses but get educated on the facts because that’s what you need to make your decisions off of, not off hunches, off of facts.”

“…I think its a huge mistake, I think it’s a a massive mistake,” he added. “I think it’s going to cost far more money down the line if we don’t deal with this issue now, and I think that there’s bipartisan support for what I just said.”

Tester hopeful for bipartisan work to happen in Congress – Havre Daily News