Tester: Veterans Affairs & Indian Health Service

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Jon Tester, is on the frontline of two major problems the Federal Government is facing: healthcare for veterans and healthcare for Native Americans.

Tester is the Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he is a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

So is Jon Tester up for this challenge?

Tester has been in the senate for over seven years, so he probably knows his way around – meaning he can find the closest bathroom to his committee hearing room, and he knows a few shortcuts to get from one meeting to the next. Plus, each year more and more of his calls are getting returned, and he can make it to the airport in record time to get out of D.C.

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Mr. Chairman

Congressman Denny Rehberg (R – Mont.) today announced that he was selected Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

Congratulations to Congressman Rehberg. Anytime a member of a small delegation (like Montana’s) ascends to a Chairmanship, it bodes well for the state – and gives the state more clout. With 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rehberg is in a unique position to rein in the massive federal spending and help our country get back on the right track.

Plus, with the recent healthcare fiasco, The Hill Blog put it best:

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) was tapped Friday to head a powerful appropriations subcommittee with oversight of health spending.

The six-term congressman will lead the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which holds the purse strings for the Medicare agency. As Republicans look to chip away at the new healthcare reform law, the Appropriations Committee is expected to play a key role in GOP plans to defund the law.

Rehberg also has seats on the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.

A list of the members of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee members for the 112th Congress can be found HERE.

BREAKING NEWS: Victory for the People!

Several sources are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the $1.1 trillion (1,924 page) Omnibus bill from consideration early this evening.

Maybe the madness is over! Supposedly they will pass a Continuing Resolution to fund congress into next year.  The Democrats, who controlled Congress, failed to pass any of the 12 Apprpropriations bills (they should have been passed prior to October 1).   Montana’s junior Senator, Jon Tester (D),  is a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Hopefully, this will put an end to the craziness and an end to Senator Jon Tester’s Forest bill that was rewritten and inserted into the Omnibus Bill without any committee hearings or debate in the senate or the House.

If that’s the case, Tester will have to start over when the 112th Congress goes into session in early January.  Maybe Tester will learn from this bitter defeat and be more open and transparent next Congress…


Montana Politics 2010: The Iceberg

The Helena Independent Record (IR) recently published a story that was titled, “Tip of the iceberg.” The Missoulian ran the same story with the headline, “No earmarks stance a switch for Rehberg” and the Billings Gazette titled it, “Earmarks stand a switch for Rehberg.” Whichever article you read, the basis for the story was about Congressman Denny Rehberg’s decision to swear off earmarks entirely.

You can read that IR story HERE.

The sentence, “Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester openly fight for earmarks for Montana” caught my attention and therefore is the basis for this commentary. Continue reading