Tester: Primary season already affecting votes

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Thursday said lawmakers from both parties would be tailoring their votes to satisfy their base until the primary season ends later this year. 

The Montana Democrat, who survived his own tough reelection bid last election cycle, said he could already see the primary season’s effect. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“Until the primaries get done I can tell you that, and you saw it with many of the votes, you are going to have folks looking over their right shoulder, and potential over their left shoulder too,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Tester classified the current election atmosphere as “crazy,” noting ads against him in the last cycle started two years before Election Day. 

He expressed little hope Congress could get any major legislation finished in 2014 or in the final three years of Obama’s presidency. 

“Well, I would love to disagree with you, but the track record isn’t particularly good,” he said when asked if Congress could get anything major done in Obama’s final term. “Not be repetitive, but we have to look for opportunities for bipartisan success.” 

He mentioned education and job training as two possibilities.

As the White House signaled it would like to use executive action to advance the president’s agenda, Tester said the focus needs to remain on Congress. 

“The executive branch is going to do their thing, and we have ceded enough power to the executive branch. It is really time to look at the legislative branch in a very proactive way,” he said.