Senator Tester says government funding bill slips in “corporate giveaways”

Senator Jon Tester has expressed his displeasure with the House of Representatives for slipping what he calls “corporate giveaways’ into a must-pass government funding bill designed to keep the government running past March 27. Tester slammed the inclusion of two provisions he says will hurt family farmers and ranchers while benefitting large meatpacking corporations and companies that develop genetically-modified crops.  Tester said backroom deals replaced open government and vowed to strip the provisions from the bill.

“Montanans elected me to the Senate to do away with shady backroom deals and to make government work better,” said Tester, who has made improving government openness a hallmark of his time in the Senate.  “These provisions are giveaways worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country and deserve no place in this bill.”

Tester introduced two amendments to remove the controversial measures from the bill.  The first provision gives large meatpacking corporations more power over the livestock market, while the second tells the U.S. Agriculture Department to ignore any judicial rulings that block the planting of crops that the court determines to be illegal.

Tester, speaking on the Senate floor, said the inclusion of the measures made a mockery out of “Sunshine Week” – when the federal government highlights the need for greater transparency and openness in government.

“Slipping corporate giveaways into a bill – at the same time we call for more open government – is doubling down on the same policies that created the need for Sunshine Week in the first place,” Tester said.  “Sunshine Week shouldn’t just be for ‘show-and-tell.’”

The two provisions that raised Tester’s ire were added to the bill by the House of Representatives.  The Senate is debating the must-pass measure this week.

Source: Office of Senator Tester