Najifa Farhat

(Missoula Current) Sen. Jon Tester said defaulting on the national debt would be “the biggest mistake” made in the nearly 20 years he's held office.

In a press call on Thursday, Tester addressed a range of issues including fentanyl, the national debt, national security and public safety in Montana.

Tester stressed the economic ramifications of defaulting on the national debt, warning that it would crash the economy and make life significantly harder for families, small businesses, and family farms across the state.

“I don’t want to see the economy collapse and fall in debt. But if we go over the edge, it’ll be the biggest mistake made since I've been a state senator,” Tester said.

Highlighting the need to secure a better future for generations to come, Tester said he has urged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, not to entertain the idea of defaulting on the debt.

Tester said the debt ceiling represents money that has already been spent and it requires responsible action to avoid detrimental consequences. Tester also underscored the threat posed by China and Montana's recent TikTok ban.

“Montana’s got every right to do what they did and there's plenty of reasons to ban TikTok,” he said.

Tester also expressed concerns about the influx of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

To combat the crisis, Tester is leading the bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act, which declares fentanyl a national emergency and empowers law enforcement to target Chinese criminal organizations and Mexican drug cartels responsible for trafficking the deadly substance.