HELENA – US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) was in Helena to address the Montana Legislature on Tuesday and also spoke with MTN News about the prospects of reopening the federal government.
In an interview with MTN News, Tester said GOP leaders in the Senate should allow another vote on the bill that passed last year, to keep the government open while negotiations on border wall funding continued.
“Look, it could be opened tomorrow if the bills we passed at the end of the year went to the floor. They would pass, and I think they’d pass with a large enough margin that we would override a veto if the president decides to veto them.,” Sen. Tester said.
He also noted that the US Senate has approved border wall funding but that President Trump keeps asking for more.
“Unfortunately when the $1.6 billion came out — which was his request. Then he came back and said, no we want $5 billion, and then, I want $5.7 billion. So that’s what I mean about the goalposts continue to move,” Sen. Tester said.
Sen. Tester also delivered his biennial address to the Montana House and zeroed in on perhaps the biggest issue before state lawmakers — Medicaid expansion.
The Republican-controlled Legislature will decide whether to extend Montana’s Medicaid expansion program which funds health coverage for 95,000 low-income adults.
Sen. Tester urged lawmakers to keep the program and told of a Butte man who said Medicaid allowed him to get care to control his diabetes and mental health problems.
“And he said, and then, for the first time in my adult life, I’ve been able to get a job and hold a job and support my family. That’s what I mean we talk about people, not politics,” Sen. Tester said.
The Democrat said he’s returning to Washington on Wednesday, for a scheduled vote on the latest budget and border security proposal from President Trump.