The government shutdown ended one week ago, and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee met for the first time on Wednesday to begin hammering out a compromise that will hopefully provide border security and keep the government open.

Montana Senator Jon Tester is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security, and made an opening statement.

“We need to find a balanced solution for border security,” said Tester. “Senator Capito and I wrote a bipartisan DHS bill that set aside more than $21 billion for border security and immigration enforcement. It showed that lawmakers can come together and can compromise.”

As far as a border wall, which President Trump is insisting be a part of any compromise, Tester inferred that a wall would not be the best way to protect the southern border.

“We have to find cost effective solutions to border security that actually work,” he said. “That includes using everything in the toolbox including technology, aircraft, water craft and man power. We need a true cost benefit analysis that takes into account the outside expense of physical barriers and the enormously costly burden of eminent domain.”

Another member of the Montana Congressional delegation, Greg Gianforte was more direct in his insistence on building a border wall.

“Border Patrol agents told me they need a wall,” said Gianforte. “They know walls work, and Congress should listen to them. Tomorrow, the conference committee tasked with border security will meet for the first time. Having seen the border crisis first hand, I urge those lawmakers to listen to the border patrol agents, fund meaningful physical barriers and protect our borders.”

Congress has until February 15 to craft a bipartisan solution for border security that Trump insists must include funding for a border wall.

Gianforte will be our in-studio guest on Friday’s Montana Morning News show in the 7:00 o’clock hour to discuss these and other issues.