Tester named one of Congress’s most effective senators; 7th bill heads to Trump

Sen. Jon Tester (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

On a week that saw Sen. Jon Tester send his seventh bill to the Oval Office for the signature of President Donald Trump, the Center for Effective Lawmaking named the Montana Democrat one of the most effective senators in Congress.

The center placed Tester fourth on its list of minority legislators who served in the 114th Congress. Tester took the accolades in stride in a statement released this week.

“Montanans sent me to Washington to fix what’s broken and be their tireless advocate,” Tester said. “Whether it’s holding government bureaucrats accountable, fighting back against government overreach, or relentlessly defending Montana from folks who want to change our way of life, I will always defend Montana.”

On the same day the rankings were released, Tester sent his latest bill to Trump’s desk for signing, a move that sets the VA Expiring Authorities Act into law.

Tester said the bill will prevent a number of benefits available to veterans from expiring. It also ensures that transportation provided to rural veterans for appointments will remain in service through 2019.

The bill also funds the Caregiver Support Program, which provides assistance to those who care for veterans. It also extends the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which provides critical housing, counseling and career training to homeless or at-risk veterans.

“These initiatives have been a life saver for so many Montana veterans and we can’t let them fall to the wayside,” said Tester, a ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “When it comes to basic needs like health care, housing, and child care we must deliver for those who served our nation. This bill delivers on the promises we made to our veterans and their families.”

Additionally, the bill advances a provision included in Tester’s Deborah Sampson Act, which provides more opportunities for women veterans to seek readjustment counseling.

Tester has seen six of his bills signed into law by President Trump during the 115th Congress. The latest bill marks the seventh, the most of the state’s congressional delegation.