Senator Tester Joins Republicans to Kill American Jobs Act


So Jon Tester has moved to the right of Max Baucus. Now just why is he running unopposed as a “Democrat?” Primary, anyone?

From the Billings Gazette

…Tester has been saying in recent interviews that he doesn’t like the president’s approach to jump-starting the economy.
He called the tax breaks “gimmicks” that “do little to create jobs and fail to address a much bigger, underlying problem: The need for a big, broad and bipartisan plan to cut the deficit and to make sure we can pay our bills and rebuild our economy.”

Well, I guess someone had to take over the bipartisan fantasy in Montana ever since Baucus had his bipartisan balloon punctured during the health insurance squabble a few years ago. Good luck to the Senator from Big Sandy coming up with a “big, broad, and bipartisan plan.” Ain’t gonna happen. You’ve just bought the unemployment numbers for the state, and the nation. Hope you’ve got a bunch of spring seed on order for early 2013. You’re going to have some free time on your hands.

  1. As I just noted on Flathead Memo Dot Com, Denny Rehberg is becoming the last reason for Democrats to vote for Tester. I’m beginning to think that had he been in the Senate in 1933, Tester would have opposed the New Deal because he feared increasing the national debt more than he feared the consequences of 20 percent unemployment, deflation, and unremediated poverty. He’s plowing under the hopes and needs of the people he represents with his myopic cheeseparing.

    • James downplays his postings – here’s his latest on Jon’s ‘nay’ vote tonight in the senate.

      I learned a new word today, too….thanks James.

    • Steve W

      James, I haven’t read the jobs bill yet (I’m a single parent with 3 teens) but I have read that it will cut employers contributions to Social Security by 1/3.

      As a supporter of Social Security, I think that’s a very bad idea. Changing Social Security from a pay as you go program to a program that’s dependent on funding out of the general fund is, in my opinion, a very bad idea.

      So why should I support this bill? What’s in it that is so important that it’s worth the dismantling of Social Security?

      • lizard19

        i very much agree, Steve. from what i’ve read, it will be a time-bomb that will shorten the solvency of the whole program.

        this is more than just a problem with this bill. these giant bills are loaded with so much stuff, i doubt even those voting really know everything they are voting for or against.

      • The “jobs bill” is sucky for the reason you mentioned. It weakens Social Security. Also the tax breaks don’t make sense and are gimmicks. Better to give tax breaks for research and development of new products. Tax breaks to hire an employee when there is no demand is foolish. However, Tester didn’t vote for this bill because of weakening social security nor did he offer some great alternative ideas to put people back to work. Instead he spouts the lines he is supposed to spout (and, sadly, actually believes!) in what is essentially Kabuki theater. The jobs bill was designed to fail and give cover and allow finger pointing while it then gets kicked up to the Super Committee where Max, Chuck and the faux liberals will gut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. That was Obama’s “Big Plan”. Indeed. OccupY!

  2. Turner

    I called Schweitzer’s office earlier today and left a message asking him to primary Tester. The person who answered the phone figured I was a crank and got rid of me as fast as she could.

    But wouldn’t Schweitzer be the obvious choice?

    Tester is toast.

  3. This is par for the course, isn’t it? In the summer of 2010 Tester tried to end the $25/wk increase in unemployment benefits that was in the original stimulus bill. He said he was worried about the deficit. Good luck winning Msla County by 15K votes this time, bro.

    If Rehberg weren’t such a hump this race would be over by now.

    • Turner

      Tester can’t win now. I suspect that he’s lost those of us who were willing to hold our noses and vote for him instead of Rehberg. Like to see a new poll on this.

      That’s why he needs to announce that he’s not running for re-election and invite Schweitzer to take his place. It’s either this or Senator Rehberg.

  4. so now if i understand this correctly….. if denny rehberg wins because jon tester turns his back on his base…. the GOP wins.

    also, if jon tester manages to squeak out a victory in november, and defeats denny rehberg, the GOP still wins.

    at some point i had hope that some god damned politician in this squirrel nut country of ours would do the right thing eventually because it is obviously the right thing to do. voting to tax the wealthiest 5% in this country so that unemployed can have a job seemed like the right thing to do……. i no longer believe that any politician in this country has any intention of doing the right thing for this country anymore.

    i can’t see the point of any of this anymore. sorry guys. sayonara.

  5. Chuck

    Do you guys have a link to the actual bill?

  6. Steve W

    Whether Tester supports this or not, The Dems don’t have 60 Senate votes, so the whole thing is more kabuki theater.

    Tester says he opposes this bill because it will cut the employers share of support for the Social Security by 1/3 and more.

    It will make permanent the so called “tax holiday” of employees.

    So how is Social security supposed to be funded? Or isn’t it?

    • Turner

      Whether you know it or not, you’re repeating the talking point being put out by Tester’s office. There would’ve been some impact on SS in the bill, but it would’ve been more than offset by more employees paying withholding taxes, even if some of them were paying less. Also, I don’t think the payroll tax cuts would’ve been permanent under the bill.

      Tester was just protecting the fat cats that are funding him.

      • Turner

        By the way, while the argument that payroll tax cuts will harm SS is an argument being put out by Tester’s office, in response to angry constituents, Tester’s publicly stated reason for voting against the AJB is that it doesn’t cut the deficit enough and doesn’t create enough jobs.

        I guess a projected 1.9 million new jobs is insignificant to him.

    • JC

      Steve, they can raise the wage base to make up the difference.

      Here, look at the chart at wikipedia. Makes more sense that way.

      lowering the rate and raising the base is the most progressive solution to funding SS and stimulating the earnings of lower wage earners.

      If Tester had an ounce of populism left in him, this is what he’d be pushing.

  7. Matthew Koehler

    See: “Lobbyists: Top Recipients” from the Center for Responsive Politics

    METHODOLOGY: The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.
    All donations took place during the 2011-2012 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission.

    • Pete Talbot

      Although it’s shaming that Tester tops this list, it should be noted, Matt, that Rehberg ranks sixth in the “Lobbyists: Top Recipients” list for members of the U.S. House.

      That’s pretty high up for a do-nothing congressman. The race is on and it’s a sick system of spoils that the candidates rely on for a win.

      • Pete Talbot

        P.S. It should also be noted that in the Presidential race, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney has outraised Obama by almost 2-1 in lobbyist contributions.

        And Obama’s no piker when it comes to fundraising.

        • Matthew Koehler

          Yes, Pete. Senator Tester ranks 1st ($201,878) for receiving the most lobbyist cash out of 535 members of Congress during the 2012 election cycle, while Rep Rehberg ranks 28th ($58,350) out of the same 535 member of Congress.

  8. Steve W

    Maybe Tester got the talking point from me after I wrote him a letter last January expressing my disapproval that he voted for the awful “deal” Obama cut with the Republicans that resulted in the first Social Security “tax holiday” and the extension of the bush tax cuts which have played such a major part to bankrupt this country.

    This from the Christian Science Monitor:

    Tax cuts

    • Payroll tax cuts for workers. Obama wants to extend and expand this tax cut, which is set to expire in December. It would put an extra $1,500 in the pockets of the typical household earning $50,000, the White House says. Failing to extend the tax break would, in effect, be a tax hike on most Americans, Obama argues. The overall cost is $175 billion.

    • Business tax cuts. Obama would give a partial payroll tax cut to all employers, with the benefits targeted especially toward small businesses, for next year. He also proposes a complete payroll tax holiday for new jobs or wage increases. The overall cost: $65 billion.

  9. This shouldn’t surprise anybody.

    Tester is playing politics, trying to distance himself from Obama, and I expect him to defy The Great Leader right up until election day.

    Will it work ? No. But he has to try.

  10. Last night I made a decision I have been contemplating for quite awhile. My passion has been supplanted by anger which is not constructive either for 4and20 or myself.

    I need to ban myself accordingly. I have shut off all political feeds and will concentrate on doing good for those less fortunate and going back to my writing.

    I wish all of you well in your still important mission of providing voice to worthwhile goals.

    Sincerely. Bill

  11. Like Steve W., I support Social Security and take a dim view of the temporarily reduced payroll taxes. But I cannot bring myself to believe that the best way for a Democratic Senator to protect the program is to join with 46 Republican Senators and Ben Nelson in opposing the President’s jobs bill. If the bill is such a threat to Social Security, why did liberal stalwarts like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown vote for it?

    As Eric observed, this is a case of Tester putting as much distance as possible between himself and Obama. It’s shameful. It’s pathetic.

    My question remains: exactly how, Senator Tester, will your jobs bill create jobs, and how do you know that it will?

    • JC

      What James said.

      To that I’d add that the bipartisan fantasy walk is just political nonsense. Nobody believes that there is a bipartisan solution waiting in the wings to save the day.

      And on looking again at Tester’s words:

      “He called the tax breaks ‘gimmicks’ that “do little to create jobs and fail to address a much bigger, underlying problem: The need for a big, broad and bipartisan plan to cut the deficit and to make sure we can pay our bills and rebuild our economy.'”

      He intimates that creating jobs take a subservient importance to cutting the deficit, balancing the budget, and “rebuilding the economy.”

      Doesn’t he get that if jobs were priority #1, all the other “bigger underlying problems” would fade away?

      This is nothing more than conservative, austerian politics, and it is damaging to the millions of people who are un and underemployed.

    • jim

      Senator Tester has never had a jobs bill.

      • Steve W

        Tester tried to call his mandated logging bill a jobs bill. I got the email.

        • Matthew Koehler

          Steve W: Thanks for mentioning the fact that Senator Tester does have a “jobs” bill out there, his mandated logging bill, which he chose to call the Forest JOBS and Recreation Act, but in public and on his website it’s mainly always just referred to as the “Forest Jobs Bill.”

          For examples, see:

          See video: “Tester to Senate: Montana is buzzing with excitement about Forest Jobs Bill and

 See video: Tester calls for end to gridlock on Forest Jobs Bill

          Ironically, about 18 months ago I contacted Senator Tester’s point person for his mandated logging bill, staffer Tracy Stone Manning, to request an economic analysis of just how many jobs would be created through his mandated logging bill.

          As many people already know, our economic crisis has resulted in a near 75% reduction in new home/business construction in the US, a near 50% reduction in over all US wood and paper consumption and a tidal wave of foreclosures and glut of empty homes, condos, rentals, offices and strip malls around the country.

          In such a context, Senator Tester (for the first time ever) mandating that the federal government increase the logging levels on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenai National Forests seems somewhere between irresponsible and crazy.

          During official Senate testimony, the head of the US Forest Service had this to say about the federal budget implications of Senator Tester’s Forest “Jobs” Bill:

          “We would urge you to consider the budgetary implications to meet the bill’s requirements. If we were to go forward with S1470 it would require far greater resources to do that and it will require us to draw these monies from forests within Region One or from other Regions….My concern [with FJRA] is that there will be somewhat of a balkanization that occurs between the different Forest Service regions in the country. Those [National Forests] who are first in may get funded and those who come later may find there are less funds available. There will be certain ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ that result from this process. Then in someways there is no longer a national review, an effort to sift out what priorities ought to exist across the country.”

          So, it was within this economic context and unavoidable reality that I asked a serious question to Senator Tester’s staff, which was simply, “How many jobs will be created by Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs Bill?”

          The answer I got back from Senator Tester’s staff was basically that they were not required to provide an analysis of how many jobs the Forest JOBS bill will supposedly create, so there will be no analysis, thank you very much.

  12. To expand my opinion – don’t overlook the possibility that The Great Leader/Reid/Pelosi NEVER intended to pass this bill, simply playing everybody for possible political advantage.

    Tester made a mistake by going against the far left of the Dem base, because even though I don’t often agree with the Dems, the ones I know and respect hate a phony.

    The 36% of Montana voters who’ll vote for him simply because he has a (D) behind his name won’t really care, but by p##sing off the far left, he’ll be encouraging the far left to stay home, and watch baseball next summer, and not stump on his behalf.

    • jim

      You’re wrong to think it’s only the far-left that are upset with his votes. It goes a long way towards the center, more conservative Dems, who are p##sed off as well. but probably for the second time you’re right about his lack of ability to motivate former supporters to knock doors and make phone calls. Or even attend the $25.00 fundraisers.

  13. mr benson

    Well, I don’t buy that bipartisanship is a “fantasy”, and I’m giving kudos to Jon for his principled stand against the knee jerk spenders.

  14. Tester has to move to the right since he will be in a very tough battle with Denny next year. Montana is a Conservative state and he only won because of the phony charges against Burns and because he has a flattop haircut. Pretty weak.

    If he’s a Liberal he should carry that banner proudly and vote how he really wants to vote. He shouldn’t be a pussy.

    You Liberals should get rid of him and pick somebody who is a true Liberal ideolog who will always vote the proper Liberal way.

  15. Chuck

    Good for Tester. Spanish Peaks closed this week and will probably file for bankruptcy. The first stimulus gave Omnicom 64 million dollars to run new high speed internet into this development so that the 1% could play in Montana while still being connected to Wallstreet.
    Can we ask Max if we can get our our 64 million back?

  16. ladybug

    In 2006, Tester held the broom for voters determined to sweep Burns out of office. Obama did the same in 2008 as all that was Bush had to go. Now what? Neither has a record of making anyone’s life better after years (decades actually) of neglect and abuse. Lowering expectations may win this time, but will only delay the inevitable need to deliver something substantive to counter the overwhelming corruption, ungodly amounts of money in politics, and a banking system and defense department accountable to no one.

  17. skym

    I’ll catch the flames, but seriously, folks, isn’t Jon Tester in any configuration better than the horrifying prospect of “Senator Rehburg”?

  1. 1 Senator Tester’s Jobs Bill Vote: A Defense

    […] to support the Senator, and accusations that he is betraying Democratic values. While I understand some of the frustration, the reaction seems overblown—and in some cases, motivated by personal animus rather than policy […]

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