Tester: ‘Quit screwing around with the healthy Montana kids program’

by MTPR, Edward O'Brien

Congress is now dickering over how to fund reauthorization of two programs that provide healthcare for tens of thousands of Montana Families. The Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Center Fund expired at the end of September.

Montana’s senior senator says congressional Republicans seem to be more concerned about – as he puts it – “tax giveaways for wealthy out-of-staters” than the solvency of community and child healthcare programs.

Democratic Senator Jon Tester has this advice for his congressional colleagues:

“Quit screwing around with the Community Health Center Fund. Quit screwing around with the Healthy Montana Kids Program; fund it. It’s a program that’s worked for nearly 20 years now, in CHIP’s case. It’s a program that we depend upon.”

Tester says the congressional tax plan mainly benefits a wealthy few, while programs like CHIP affect the health insurance of upwards of 20,000 Montana children.

Tester, meanwhile, told reporters Wednesday he hopes Alabama Democrat Doug Jones’ election ushers in a return of bipartisanship to the U.S. Senate.

“It’s 51-49, you don’t get any closer than that. It’s tied till the next one, ok? Hopefully it will result in more talking between the sides to get bill that reflect the United States, not just one opinion of a bunch of guys in a back room,” Tester said.

The Federal Communications Commission is widely expected to press ahead with a proposal to scrap rules compelling internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Tester opposes any move to rollback what’s commonly referred to as the “Net Neutrality” rule, saying it would deal a significant blow to Montana small businesses that rely on the internet to market their products.