Tester: ‘We need to invest in the future’

Senator delivers floor speech on budget priorities

(U.S. Senate) – As Congress prepares to vote on competing budget proposals for the 2016 Fiscal Year, Senator Jon Tester is outlining his priorities for reducing spending and increasing investments at home.

Tester today, speaking from the Senate floor, criticized the President’s budget proposal for not continuing to reduce the deficit and the House and Senate budgets for making cuts that cripple the middle class while maintaining lucrative tax breaks for millionaires.

“Instead of balancing this budget on the backs of middle class families, seniors, students and our nation’s most vulnerable, we need to fully invest in our roads and bridges, in our outdoor economy, and in the education our kids and grandkids receive,” Tester said.

Both the House and Senate majority budgets gut Pell Grants, make significant cuts to Medicaid by turning it into a block grant program, and eliminate important provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Additionally, the House budget proposal privatizes Medicare.

Both of those proposed budgets repeal the Affordable Care Act which has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 16 million in the past five years. Those budgets are then balanced in part by using the $1 trillion in new revenue and $700 billion in savings created by the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m a farmer not an accountant, and even I know this doesn’t add up,” Tester said.

Tester said that America is spending too much money overseas at the expense of America’s future.

“While we send our troops and our treasure overseas, our allies are free to invest significantly more in public education, in health care, in infrastructure, in research and development, and in lower taxes,” Tester said. “As Congress looks to responsibly cut spending, we must look at the billions we waste overseas, and we need to level with the American people about the true costs of war. It’s not just dollars and cents. It’s the lives of our kids. It’s the wounds they face when they return from war, if they return at all. These are the price tags we can’t afford.”

Tester is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Tester’s full floor speech is available online HERE.