Tester named chairman of economic policy panel

Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester says he has been given the chairmanship of a subcommittee that oversees parts of the financial system and economic policy.

Tester, in his first term in the Senate, is a member of the Senate Banking Committee and now will also chair the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy.

Tester, a Democrat, says that community banks are crucial to strong small businesses and that he will use the new role to look out for concerns specific to rural America and Montana.

The announcement comes as Tester readies for a 2012 election challenge from Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Earlier this year Republican leaders appointed Rehberg chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, a position Rehberg is using to fight the federal health care law.