MISSOULA — US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) hopes members of the House will vote on the merits of the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, rather than basing their support on a broader political agenda.
The $1 trillion plan would rebuild roads, bridges and other aging public works projects, while also helping with future investments such as better Internet access in rural areas like Montana.
The measure passed on a 69-to-30 vote in the Senate last month, with 19 Republicans signing off on the plan.
But with an expected vote looming Monday in the House, a split has developed with the Progressive Caucus, Senate Democrats who want to see action on a $3.5 trillion social spending bill before a vote on the infrastructure package.
"I think it is very, very risky to say 'if this doesn't pass, that doesn't pass.' I don't agree with that. I think you take them on their own merit and you move forward,” Sen. Tester said Thursday.
“I just encourage everybody over in the House to take a look at this bill. See how it effects your state. If you don't like it vote no. If you do vote yes. If they do that, this bill will pass,” the Democrat continued.
Five GOP members in the House have come out in favor of the infrastructure plan. That's a critical number if any of the Progressives step away the bill in favor of the "social safety net" package.