BOZEMAN - It seems rare when senators from party lines work together but Montana's senators are pushing for legislation impacting veterans, farmers and prices at the counter.
“Our veterans serve in theater, their life gets changed by that service, it's up to us to bring their life back to normal,” said Sen. John Tester (D-MT).
The bi-partisan Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act would offer post 9/11 veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals better access to VA care.
“This extended the ability for veterans to sign up for VA services, there were deadlines before, now this extends it from five to10 years,” says Tester.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) — who is also is a co-sponsor of the bill — told MTN News in a statement, “too many of Montana’s brave veterans suffer from serious health complications after serving our nation. We must do everything we can to ensure that these men and women have access to top-notch care when they return home.”
Sen. Tester is also pushing for transparency among the four big meatpackers in the county, saying they are taking competition away from small meat packers.
“All I'm asking to do is let's put some more transparency on that industry,” says Tester. “Meanwhile, while they are making record profits, the medium and small-sized feeders and our cow-calf operators are going broke.
Both senators agree on saving Montanans at the counter.
“To really help the consumer and help the folks who go to the butcher,” said Sen. Tester.
“For too long Montana ranchers and families have been hurting while meat packers win big. I’m glad to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on bills that will crack down on big packers, support Montana ranchers, ensure Montana families are paying fair prices and provide a much needed update to the ‘Packers and Stockyards Act," Sen. Daines said in a statement.
Tester is working to give farmers the option to repair their equipment without having to wait with his Right to Repair Bill, "we are asking the manufacturer to do it when you sell the tractor and give the farmer the software to do the basic repairs."
The hope is that during harvest season this would save time for farmers. “This allows the farmer to make that repair, get it back going, get that crop in the bin and probably stay in business,” Sen. Tester said.