Enough is enough.

Congress needs to stop being reckless and start doing its job.

More than 100 days after the deadline to fund the government this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring a full budget to the Senate floor that would work for Montana.

Instead, we are stuck with short-term fixes, which gives Montanans no certainty. With the uncertainty of a government shutdown, there will be impacts to our rural hospitals and our healthcare workforce.

As a 30-year registered nurse in Montana, I know the importance of our community health centers (CHC), which provide healthcare for 10 percent of Montana’s population. If we continue to not fund the government, the funding streams for these health centers and other programs will expire. These community health centers and our patients will be compromised, losing access to care. Without funding, these centers would lose their workforce and could force closures, at the expense of Montanans.

It is reckless for Congress to not have reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program. To hold on its reauthorization for political purposes is unacceptable. For four months, McConnell has refused to take up the bipartisan bill to fund CHIP. Our Senator, Jon Tester, is a co-sponsor of the bill and has been very vocal about trying to get this critical program reauthorized, which provides health insurance to 24,000 Montana kids. He continues to have Montana’s back through his bipartisan work, and fights for Montanans every day in the Senate.

Congress needs to step up and start doing its job. Our congressmen need to follow Sen. Tester’s lead and start working with bipartisan collaboration and advocate for Montana.

Vicky Byrd

Clancy

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