Jon Tester on Homeland Security

Democratic Jr Senator


Irresponsible to put two wars on credit card

Rehberg, the Republican challenger, once again aimed to connect Tester, the Democratic incumbent, to big government and the "failed policies" of President Barack Obama's administration.

Tester depicted Rehberg as an irresponsible spender during his 12 years in Congress. He described Rehberg as a politician who used a "credit card" to vote for a new federal prescription drug program and two wars, among other spending.

Source: Daily Inter Lake on 2012 Montana Senate debates , Oct 14, 2012

Build forces to fight terror cells; not take away our rights

Q: What do you think about Executive Authority with regards to warrantless wiretapping?

TESTER: It deals with the freedoms that so many people have fought and died for. If we want to get serious about the War on Terror, we need to make the investments to fight the war on terror. We ought not be taking rights away from honest citizens. If we've got terror cells around the world, then let's invest in human intelligence. Let's invest in our Special Forces. Let's go after ‘em, and let's be serious, and not get sidetracked by Iraq. Right now, we're taking rights away from honest people. If they think you fall into their list, you're a target. By the time they figure out there's a terror cell, they can get a warrant. The Senator wants to let them have Carte Blanche. The government ought not be taking away our freedoms.

JONES: We've lost our Fourth Amendment rights; now there's no protection to our privacy.

BURNS: The Patriot Act is a tool that is in place now for drug kingpins and organized crime.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU , Oct 9, 2006

I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act--I want to repeal it

Tester probably found a sound bite moment in response to a Burns charge that he is "soft on terrorism." Tester, Burns said, "doesn't understand this enemy" and would weaken the Patriot Act. "Let me be clear," Tester shot back sharply. "I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act. I want to repeal it."
Source: Paul Driscoll, "Lobbying Questions", in NewWest Missoula , Sep 24, 2006

Patriot Act has very little to do with the War on Terrorism

Q: What can ensure the safety of Americans, given that you don't support the PATRIOT Act?

TESTER: The Patriot Act has very little to do with the War on Terrorism and a lot to do with why the terrorists attacked this country, which is to take away our freedoms.

BURNS: The Patriot Act gave our law enforcement people the same tools that they had to go after organized crime and drug kingpins. That's all it is. Mr. Tester doesn't understand this enemy. It is global. He wants to weaken the Patriot Act, and take away the tools from the people who work for our protection.

TESTER: Let me be clear--I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act, I want to repeal it. It's two inches think, and it does far more than what Burns said--it takes away your freedoms. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have fought and died for our freedoms. If we lose our freedoms, the terrorists will have won. We need to be very forceful against the terrorists, and get ‘em. We're taking away freedoms--first!--and that's ridiculous.

Source: 2006 MT Senate debate, Tester vs. Burns in Butte , Sep 24, 2006

Critical of President Bush on Patriot Act

[Regarding] the war on terror: Tester was very critical of President Bush regarding the reasons for the Patriot Act, wiretapping and a lack of consultation with our allies.
Source: Letter-to-the-editor about MT Broadcasters Convention debate , Aug 15, 2006

Study & address suicides among veterans.

Tester co-sponsored studying & addressing suicides among veterans

Veterans Suicide Study Act - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs conduct a study to determine the number of veterans who have committed suicide between January 1, 1997, and the date of the enactment of this Act. Congress makes the following findings:

Source: Veterans Suicide Study Act (S.2899/H.R.4204) 08-S2899 on Apr 22, 2008

Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays.

Tester signed HR1283&S3065

Repeals current Department of Defense policy [popularly known as `Don`t-Ask-Don`t-Tell`] concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces. Prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member. Authorizes the re-accession into the Armed Forces of otherwise qualified individuals previously separated for homosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexual conduct.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the furnishing of dependent benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of `marriage` and `spouse` and referred to as the `Defense of Marriage Act`).

Source: Military Readiness Enhancement Act 10-HR1283 on Mar 3, 2010

Non-proliferation includes disposing of nuclear materials.

Tester signed Letter from Congress on nuclear material security

Press Release from Sen. Merkley`s officeCiting the dangers to US national security posed by terrorists and rogue states seeking nuclear weapons, a bipartisan group of 26 senators sent a letter last week to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), calling on the President to support increased funding in the FY2016 budget to more rapidly secure and permanently dispose of nuclear and radiological materials. The letter comes in response to the President`s proposals in recent years to decrease funding for nuclear material security and nonproliferation programs.

The senators indicated that unsecured nuclear material poses unacceptably high risks to the safety of Americans and argued that the rate at which nuclear and radiological materials are secured and permanently disposed of must be accelerated. The senators expressed concern that cutting funds would slow what has been a successful process of elimination and reduction of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium in the international community. In just the last five years, nuclear security and non-proliferation programs have proven successful in eliminating HEU and separated plutonium from 13 countries, including Ukraine.

`Reducing budgets for agencies and programs that help keep nuclear and radiological materials out of the hands of terrorists is out of sync with the high priority that the President has rightly placed on nuclear and radiological material security and signals a major retreat in the effort to lock down these materials at an accelerated rate,` the senators wrote. `The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world`s most dangerous weapons and materials.`

In the past two fiscal years, Congress has enacted $280 million additional dollars to the President`s proposed funding for core non-proliferation activities.

Source: Merkley/Feinstein letter to OMB 14_Lt_HS on Aug 18, 2014

End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.

Tester co-sponsored USA FREEDOM Act

Congressional summary:: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act or the USA FREEDOM Act: