Tester talks about economic woes with local reporters

Liberty County Times

by Paul Overlie

The economy was the continuing topic in a conference call with Senator Jon Tester last week. The Senator opened the call talking about the passing of the Public Lands Bill and then told the reporters that the AIG bonuses have people in Washington, D.C. pretty upset.

"I did not vote for the bailouts for just this reason," Senator Tester said. "There was not enough oversight ."
The Senator talked about the jobs bill that just passed and said that this will put people to work in Montana.
"Looking Forward," Tester said. "We need to look for common sense solutions to the challenges."

Tester was asked if he has any informa¬tion on a second stimulus package; he said there hasn't been any proposals brought forward that he has been made aware of. He told one reporter that there is some money potentially available to increase loans to small businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

"The Stimulus can't be everything for everyone," Tester said. "We are working on some issues with housing but there are a lot of houses on the market and new starts are going to be slow until existing home sales pick up."

According to Tester, much of the jobs money will come through existing channels. Most of the water project money will be made available through TSEP and STAG Grants, for example.

Senator Tester has been very active in Veterans issues, especially in trying to work out VA Medical problems. One of the issues that bothered him this session was the priority 8 veterans and making sure they are given access to VA services in the Presidents budget.

"These are veterans that are not dis¬abled and make more than $30,000 a year," Tester said. "I believe that we have a responsibility to all veterans."

Tester also noted that he would like to see another veterans clinic in North Centeral Montana, like the ones set up in Cut Bank and Havre.