Tester to Congress: Don’t Leave Desks Until Long-Term Budget is Done

Senator Opposes Another Short-Term Budget Bill that Fails Montana Businesses and Families

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today demanded that Congress continue to work towards a long-term budget agreement without shutting down the government.

During a conference call, Tester issued the following statement:

For months Congressional leaders have completely failed to do their jobs in negotiating a long term budget that provides certainty for Montana families and businesses.

Government funding ran out at the end of last September. That was 110 days ago.

For 110 days, the politicians who control Congress have refused to provide long term funding for community health centers, which provide health care for 100,000 Montanans. These are clinics like Riverstone Health in Billings, Flathead Community Health Center in Kalispell, and Bullhook in Havre.

For 110 days, those politicians have neglected children in Butte, Great Falls and Glendive by refusing to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, when there is a bill drafted and ready to move that is just sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk.

For 110 days, Washington has failed to pass a bill that secures our borders.

For 110 days, Washington has failed to pass a long-term budget that responsibly invests in Glacier and Yellowstone, the Montana National Guard, or the VA clinics across the state.

For 110 days, Washington has failed the people of Montana.

And today that must stop. No more short-term budgets. No more paycheck to paycheck. No more uncertainty.

Congress has three times passed short term, stop-gap, crisis funding bills. When is enough, enough?

When I travel around Montana as the only senator willing to meet with folks face-to-face in townhalls, coffee shops and store fronts, they tell me it’s time for Congress to do its job.

They don’t run their businesses like this, why on earth is it acceptable for Washington to? It’s not.

Especially after hearing promise after promise to drain the swamp. This is the exact opposite.

That’s why I am demanding that Congress stop with the games, give the Twitter feed a rest for a while, pull out the pen and pad and write a responsible long-term budget that addresses our most pressing needs. People back here should not leave their desks until it’s done.

The short-term, take-it-or-leave-it, budget bill before Congress right now is a disgrace. It’s a slap in the face of every Montanan who works hard and deserves certainty from their leaders. It’s a failure of leadership and I’m here today to say, no more. Not on my watch.

I am going to hold every member here accountable until they agree to negotiate a bipartisan bill that does right by the American people.

That’s what Montanans deserve. They deserve so much better than a Congress that flirts with deadlines and plays hot potato with the funding that everyone else pays for.

The Senate will continue debate on a government funding bill tomorrow.