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Tester Tackles Issues During Media Call

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., discussed threats from China and the nation’s debt during a conference call with Montana media members on Thursday, May 18.

The senator has led the charge to combat Chinese aggression and protect America’s place as the world’s leading economic power. Tester continues to lead oversight efforts around the Chinese spy balloon and is committed to securing a budget that will ensure the Department of Defense has the tools it needs to better prevent these evolving threats.

“We have received updates on Chinese aerial threats and needed updates to our missile defense system. And most importantly, we’ve held public hearings on the best way to approach our relationship with China going forward,” Tester said. “China is our pacing threat in this world, and we all know it; Russia’s doing an unprovoked war in Ukraine; North Korea’s doing the missiles; and Iran is too. But truthfully, China is the biggest threat to the world.”

The senator is also upset about some senators willing to default on the nation’s debt and failing to want an agreement on the debt ceiling.

“I want to be perfectly clear — defaulting on our debt would crash our economy —and that is not an overstatement, that is a fact. It would make life harder for every single family, every single small business, every single family farm in Montana. And not just a little bit harder. A lot harder, because inflation would go crazy, interest rates would be driven up quadruple or more, retirement savings would crash, and our supply chains could very well collapse,” Tester said. “And I would tell you this, my wife and I are incredibly blessed, and we’re blessed because people of previous generations made smart decisions that were in government. I would say for the sake of not only us, but more importantly our kids and grandkids, we need to make smart decisions — and defaulting on our debt is certainly not a smart decision, and it is not acceptable.”

With concerns about fentanyl usage, Tester supported a resolution making National Police Week May 14-20.

Tester is leading the bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act to declare fentanyl a national emergency, and to give the Department of Treasury and law enforcement more tools to go after the Chinese criminal organizations that provide the precursor elements to fentanyl and Mexican drug cartels responsible for trafficking the drug.

He supports Montana’s idea of having a two-year mandatory sentence in Montana for trafficking fentanyl.

“It is poison. It literally kills people and it doesn’t take too much to do it,” Tester said.

He notes that illegal immigration and bringing fentanyl into the country are two different issues. The drug is being transported by trucks and cars, so more technology is needed to check those vehicles. Both issues deal with border security.

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