Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Montana's two U.S. senators split their vote on the debt-ceiling bill late Thursday, but they both described the agreement as less than satisfactory.

The Senate approved the measure on a 63-36 vote, just days before the nation was set to default on its debt. The consequences of that threat prompted Sen. Jon Tester to support the measure.

“Defaulting on our debts is not an option because doing so would crash our economy, wipe out Montanans’ retirement accounts, and raise costs on our state’s families and small businesses at a time when folks are already struggling with rising costs,” Tester said in a statement. “While this is not the bill I would have drafted myself, Republicans and Democrats came together to craft this agreement that invests in health care for veterans and cuts the deficit.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation will reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. But members of both parties criticized the measure despite its passage, with neither party getting everything it wanted.

Among the concerns, Democrats opposed new work requirements for some recipients of federal food stamps while Republicans wanted more aggressive spending cuts.

Sen. Steve Daines opposed the measure, saying it doesn't fully address spending.

“Washington, D.C. has a spending problem and as a result, our country faces an existential crisis of a nearly $32 trillion national debt and record inflation,” Daines said in a statement after the vote. “Solving this crisis will require real and meaningful spending reform. Failure to do so will result in terrible consequences for our children and grandchildren.”