Independent Record: Sen. Tester: Congress must stop partisan games

Congress can and should move forward on issues like the economy and reducing the nation’s debt, but won’t unless the two political parties decide to work together and put aside “partisan brinksmanship,” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said Tuesday in an interview.

“With the preface that we have to work together, we can do something this year (on the federal debt), Tester told the Helena Independent Record editorial board. “If we don’t work together, it’s not going to happen. It has to be a joint effort.”

Tester, a Democrat up for re-election this year, also said the main difference between him and his Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, is that he works on proposals to solve problems facing the nation while Rehberg “sits on the sideline and throws stones at (the proposals).”

“Quite honestly, that’s not how I’m built,” Tester said. “I think we’re there to try to push forth good policies.”

Tester, 55, a farmer from Big Sandy, is running for a second term in the Senate. Rehberg, a six-term congressman representing Montana, announced almost a year ago he would challenge Tester, in what’s become one of the most-watched U.S. Senate contests in the country.

Chris Bond, a spokesman for the Rehberg campaign, said Monday the only thing Tester has been accomplishing in Congress is “rubber-stamping President Barack Obama’s agenda 97 percent of the time,” while Rehberg has fought for policies to “create jobs by getting Washington out of the way.”

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