Tester, Daines lay out goals for 2018
MISSOULA, Mont. —
Congress just returned from winter break with a lot on the agenda, including immigration, border security and a possible government shutdown. We spoke to Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines to hear their priorities for 2018 and what challenges they think face Congress.
Both senators agree the short-term goal is avoiding a government shutdown. Both have a number of bills they're sponsoring they'd like to see pass. And both disagree with the recently passed FISA bill, which allows for broad government surveillance.
Tester laid out some of his specific goals for 2018, including wanting to save programs like Social Security and Medicare from cuts under the new tax bill. He also wants to get a new farm bill passed that helps agricultural producers and programs that put food on the table for low-income families.
Tester laid into his colleagues over not getting a long-term budget passed.
"It's called just do your job," Tester said. "We should have passed a budget by the end of September that ran for a full year, because that's typically what they do at the federal level, and it would have given people certainty. But we didn't do that. We ended up arguing about silly bills that went nowhere, and we didn't do our job, which is fundamental to Congress, which is passing a budget that works for this country."
Tester talked about his meeting with President Donald Trump on border security and DACA a few days ago. He says he wants to see a plan from the Department of Homeland Security before Congress cuts a check to pay for any wall. He added that Trump said he had no intention of building a wall across the entire Mexican border.
We sent the same questions to Daines. He agrees the biggest issue facing this session of Congress is a balanced budget. He also says working together with his Democratic counterparts is the only way to get things done for Montana.
Daines' personal goal for this session is to pass forest management reform.
He also spoke more about the FISA surveillance bill.
"While the House-passed FISA bill falls well short of the protections included in my bipartisan reform USA Privacy Act, I'll be fighting to amend the House bill to better protect America's privacy," Daines said.