Tester: Montana can’t afford an earmark moratorium

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement in anticipation of voting NO on a measure that would put a one-year moratorium on all state-specific federal appropriations, also known as earmarks.  The measure, by Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is expected to be voted on in the Senate later today.

"One of my first orders of business in the Senate was to clean up the appropriations process.  Rather than corrupt pay-to-play schemes and the backroom secret deals of the past, the Senate now secures appropriations in the sunshine of openness and transparency.  When it comes to taxpayers knowing how their money is being spent, there is no such thing as too much information."

"The needs of rural America have been neglected by the Bush Administration for years.  Now more than ever, large, rural states like Montana need funding for basic infrastructure.  That's why I prioritize projects that improve roads, water systems, health care facilities and research projects that are critical to Montana's future.  Appropriations also sustain local law enforcement agencies and our National Guard and military.

Tester also noted that the appropriations he and Senator Max Baucus secured last year included more than $16 million for the military and even $8.4 million for the federal government.

The infrastructure funding projects Tester and Baucus fought for and secured in the current budget year include:

  • $4,596,200 for construction of Shiloh Road in Billings.    
  • $3,939,600 to help build the Kalispell Bypass.
  • $1,869,819 for an animal bioscience facility at Montana State University in Bozeman.    
  • $656,600 to help build a bridge over Broadway in Missoula
  • $984,900 to help build the Custer Avenue/Interstate 15 interchange in Helena.
  • $5,904,000 for the North Central Rural Water System near Havre.
  • $9,840,000 for the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie water system in northeastern Montana.
  • $7,000,000 to build a Community Activities Center at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls.
  • $7,629,000 to build an Army Reserve Training Center in Butte.
  • $906,000 for a National Guard Readiness Center in Miles City.