Tester crosses party lines to tackle DC dysfunction

Montana farmer supports bipartisan bill holding lawmakers accountable

Cost of Rehberg’s irresponsible brinksmanship: $1.3 billion

BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana farmer Jon Tester is working again across party lines with a tough message for irresponsible politicians in Washington: Montanans shouldn’t have to pay the price when Congress plays politics with the economy.

Tester is teaming up with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio to introduce the End Government Shutdowns Act.

Roll Call newspaper reports Tester’s and Portman’s bill would automatically keep the U.S. government running for 120 days at current levels if lawmakers fail to agree on yearly funding bills on time. Automatic cuts are triggered if Congress doesn’t act after four months.

“Washington is broken and there are too many people back there who’d rather put their own politics ahead of jobs and small businesses that need certainty,” said Tester, who often works with colleagues from both parties. “This bipartisan measure simply protects our economy from irresponsible politicians by holding them accountable.”

Last year, Congressman Dennis Rehberg repeatedly blocked bipartisan agreements to prevent a disastrous government shutdown.

This week, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reports Rehberg’s brinkmanship cost taxpayers $1.3 billion.

During a June speech to the conservative Ripon Society, Rehberg told his colleagues, “Don’t fall for any kind of a compromise.” [Ripon Society, 6/18/2012]

The Hill reports that Tester’s and Portman’s Bill is also supported by Republican senators from Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Texas, North Dakota and Arizona.