With the Senate looking to next year's budget, Senator Jon Tester is pushing for strong investments in education and training initiatives to create jobs and prepare the next generation of Montana workers.
Tester is calling on Senate leaders to invest in Jobs Corps, Pell Grants, and the Veterans Employment and Training Service. Tester says supporting these initiatives will keep Montana's economy and small businesses competitive.
"In these challenging economic times, it is important to maintain our commitment to the economic health and security of our communities," Tester said.
Tester's budget priorities include:
* Jobs Corps, which prepares disadvantaged young people for the workplace or higher education. It teaches thousands of young people job skills each year.
* Pell Grants, which helps more than nine million students from low and moderate income families to pursue higher education.
* Veterans Employment and Training Service, with more veterans returning from overseas every day, Montana's only member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee wants to make sure they have the tools to succeed.
* Impact Aid, which helps school districts in rural areas make ends meet and compensate for funding lost due to tax-exempt federal property.
Tester also supports greater investments in research and development-- including by the National Institutes of Health -- to create new opportunities for growth.
Tester is also seeking to cut funding for the Education Department's "Race to the Top" initiative. The Senator questions the efficiency and effectiveness of the program, saying that it helps a small minority of states while "predominantly rural states with poverty rates above the national average received nothing."
Tester has also urged savings in this year's budget by continuing to cut overseas military bases and by denying a scheduled pay raise for members of Congress.
Tester, who has helped secure $1.4 trillion in tax cuts for Montanans, took to the Senate floor in November to criticize a U.S. House of Representatives proposed budget for "irresponsibly" trying to slash Pell Grants by $3.6 billion.