Tester slams the budget, calls for passage of Highway Bill

Senator says it’s time to invest in America

(U.S. Senate) -Senator Jon Tester took to the Senate floor today to call out the majority for pushing through a budget that spends billions overseas instead of making investments in America’s future.

Tester noted that the budget resolution guts Medicare, increases student loan payments, opens the door for selling off public lands, and gives tax breaks to the wealthy few. He also pointed out that the budget would increase military spending overseas while slashing infrastructure spending here at home.

“We have folks here in Congress who think that roads build themselves,” Tester said. “We have folks here in Congress who eagerly swipe the nation’s credit card when it comes to investments in the Middle East. But these same members of Congress won’t even open up the wallet to fill a pothole next to a school.”

Tester called on Congress to pass a long-term highway bill, which would support thousands of jobs in Montana and give businesses needed certainty to plan for the future. The current Highway Bill is set to expire on May 31.

“Infrastructure investments are investments in our economy and in our future,” Tester said. “If we pass a long-term bill, it will pay for itself by giving businesses the certainty they need to grow, create jobs and build the kind of economy that our kids and grandkids deserve.”

In his speech, the Senator pointed out that because of Montana’s short construction season, delays in funding could prevent projects from being completed this year. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has already delayed several construction projects because of Congressional inaction on the highway bill.

In February, Tester held a transportation listening session with MDT Director Mike Tooley, transportation officials, and Montana business owners about the economic impact of highway funding in Montana.

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, federal highway dollars directly impact 11,000 jobs in Montana, as well as thousands of others that rely on roads for their business.

Tester today also announced his intention to vote against the majority’s budget, that final vote is expected tonight.

Tester’s full speech can be viewed online HERE and a written version is available HERE.