NBC Montana: Tester, Daines weigh in on funding bill

The U.S. House passed a temporary government-wide funding bill that would avert a government shutdown this weekend. The measure still faces iffy prospects in the Senate, where Democrats are poised to block it in hopes of spurring slow-moving talks on immigration. The measure would keep the government running through Feb. 16.

Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines both spoke out about the spending measure Thursday.

Before the measure passed the House of Representatives Daines urged his colleagues to pass the short-term measure, which would also fund the Child Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. He took to the floor of the Senate, where he told two stories about sick Montana kids who rely on the program.

“I’m saddened that partisan politics would come in the way of these children’s access to health care with the opportunity today to reauthorize CHIP for six years and avert a government shutdown at the same time,” Daines said. “I urge my colleagues to do the right thing here. Do the right thing for the 24,000 kids who use this program and to keep the government open.”

Tester also wants CHIP funded but says he’s demanding Congress to do its job and pass a long-term funding bill. He says there’s enough time to get something passed and avoid a shutdown Friday night.

“This bologna, and I’m being generous when I say bologna, of going month to month when nothing is changing is crazy,” Tester said. “And so I’m telling folks on both sides of the aisle who will listen that this is no way to run a government. And that we need to do better and we need to demand better from our leadership, and hopefully, in the end, we’ll get bipartisan support to do that, because that’s what it’s going to take.”

A press release from Daines’ office says he’s voting for the funding bill. Thursday night, the U.S. Senate voted on a motion to debate the funding bill. The Senate vote will likely take place Friday. If the measure doesn’t pass the Senate the U.S. faces a government shutdown starting Friday night.