Can Republicans fix Congress? It could be up to these Democrats.

Christian Science Monitor

by Francine Kiefer

WASHINGTON – Democrats may now be in the minority in the Senate, but a clutch of their centrists will hold particular sway as bridge-builders – and powerbrokers.

In order to get anything done, the Republican majority of 54 still needs six Democrats – more if some GOP members peel off – to clear procedural hurdles and bring legislation to a vote.

Going forward, other red-state Democratic senators could come into play, such as Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana. But Senator Tester may be a tougher “get” for the GOP. Like Senator McCaskill, he is a Keystone cosponsor and has bucked his party before. But he is also the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee charged with putting more Democrats in the Senate in 2016.

When asked whether he sees a group of Democrats as potential bridge-builders, Tester answers without hesitation, “I do.” He adds: “I’m looking for ways to make things work better, to improve stuff, whether it’s Dodd-Frank [financial regulation] or the Affordable Care Act.”

But, he cautions, “those bills are in place for a reason, and as long as we’re improving them – and not destroying them – there’s a lot of common ground that we can move forward on.”

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