Tester Sharpens Language: ‘You’re Either for Jobs or Against Jobs’

By Beacon Staff

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who is seldom dramatic when pushing legislation, turned it up a notch Wednesday on the Senate floor. He held up a recent <a href="http://www.whitefishpilot.com/" title="Whitefish Pilot“>Whitefish Pilot photograph that shows a man in that town holding a cardboard sign that reads: “WORK NEEDED.”

“He is someone I represent in the United States Senate,” Tester said. “He is one of the 950,000 Montanans that I am proud to call my boss. And his story is the story of millions of Americans right now.”

In Tester’s two years in the Senate, I don’t recall him ever being so visible (making rounds on cable news channels) and outspoken in supporting legislation as he has been of the federal stimulus plan.

Below is an e-mail from Tester’s office.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Saying it’s worth much more than a thousand words, Senator Jon Tester today shared a hard-hitting photo from Montana while urging his colleagues to support the final version of the Jobs Bill.

Tester yesterday voted to pass the Jobs Bill, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Now Republicans and Democrats from the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are negotiating a final version of the bill.

Today on the Senate floor, Tester shared a photo that recently appeared in the Whitefish Pilot newspaper. The picture shows a man on a street corner holding a cardboard sign that reads: WORK NEEDED.

“He is someone I represent in the United States Senate,” Tester said. “He is one of the 950,000 Montanans that I am proud to call my boss. And his story is the story of millions of Americans right now.”

Tester noted that Montana’s unemployment rate rose from 4.9 percent in December to 5.4 percent in January. Numerous Montana businesses are laying off employees or are “being forced to call it quits.”

Tester said the millions Americans who are looking for work are “paying a tough price for the failed economic policies of the past.”

“The word ‘stimulus’ is a Washington, D.C., word that doesn’t mean much in my book,” Tester said. “That’s why—from day one—I have called this the Jobs Bill. Because that’s exactly what it is. You’re either for jobs. Or you’re against jobs… Now some D.C. politicians say we don’t need to pass a Jobs Bill because the current recession is only temporary. I ask you to tell that to this guy standing on the street in Whitefish, Montana.”

As a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester played a key role in focusing the Jobs Bill on investment in long-term infrastructure such as highway projects, water systems, energy facilities and health care facilities to win bipartisan support.

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