Montana’s U. S. Sen. Jon Tester said Thursday he is back in Washington with a long agenda ahead after spending the August recess meeting with people and groups in Montana, and even completing his harvest at his farm near Big Sandy.
“It was a great month, ” Tester said, adding that at every meeting he attended he heard good ideas from Montanans which he will take back to Washington to try to get into federal policy.
He said his biggest priority is finding jobs for Americans. Members of Congress need to focus on that, Tester said.
“Not to draw lines in the sand. … Like you, I am frustrated by the partisanship …, ” Tester said. “On the other hand, I’m optimistic about the future. ”
He said he will pay close attention to the work of the 12-member committee tasked with reducing the nation’s deficit spending. The panel includes his colleague Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
He wants to see plans from the committee both in the short-term and the long-term to reduce the deficits and eventually the national debt.
Tester believes everything should be on the table. He wants the committee to come up with general plans, saying how much could be spent in this area, how much should be cut in that area, and let Congress set the specific spending through its budgetting process.
“That’s what I would like to see, ” Tester said.
He said many people on both sides of the aisle want to make certain Medicare and Social Security are protected and strengthened, but everything has to be looked at.
“We can get the budget and deficit under control and I think everything has to be on the table, including Medicare and Social Security, ” Tester said, adding that he believes the deficit can be reduced so benefits don’t get cut and so the programs will work for generations to come.
“If we don’t make the decisions that have to be made, we endanger the future …, ” Tester said. “It’s just about using common sense in decisions. ”