Senate advances funding to boost drug fighting efforts

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will help fight drugs in Montana,  Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Act includes funding for the Counterdrug Joint Task Force of the Montana National Guard. 
The Counterdrug Joint Task Force provides aerial and intelligence support to state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as youth education activities.  Partnering with local drug law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations, the Counterdrug Joint Task Force works to reduce the flow of drugs into Montana.

Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard, Brigadier General John Walsh said the $1 million in funding is critical for continuing to fight drugs in Montana.

"Additional funding directed to the MTNG Counter Drug effort will help guard personnel support smaller communities and Tribal Nations,” General Walsh said.  “These rural areas are the fabric of Montana's culture and these anti drug efforts will help preserve Montana's future.  I want to thank our congressional delegation for their continued support of the Montana National Guard Counter Drug program."

“Putting resources into reducing the flow of drugs into Montana is a good investment of federal resources,” Tester said. “The Counterdrug Joint Task Force is a good example of folks working together to keep illegal drugs off our streets and away from our kids and neighbors.” 

“The Montana National Guard is leading the way in partnering with local organizations to fight the flow of drugs into Montana,” Baucus said.  “Their efforts will make our communities safe and drug-free, which is why I support investing in this critical effort.”

The Senate Defense Appropriations Act also includes funding for:

  • FLIR Systems to build portable long-range infrared sensor so that special operations forces can conduct improved surveillance from relatively safe distances.  FLIR Systems continues to expand its presence in Montana as orders for these sensors continue to grow, having increased from about 35 employees in 2007 to more than 60 today. ($5 million)
  • Resodyn, in Butte, to research innovative methods to treat battlefield wounds in order to save limbs after wounded troops leave the combat zone.  According to the VA, approximately six percent of Operation Iraqi Freedom casualties suffered limb loss, often due to improvised explosive device (IED) explosions. ($4 million)
  • Montana State University to hire new workers and expand its MilTech program, which helps small businesses develop and market new technology for the military.  MilTech has helped more than 50 Montana companies win Defense contracts. ($2 million)
  • TerraEchos to continue development of a high-tech sensor system designed to provide new security protections at sensitive bases and facilities throughout the Department of Defense.  TerraEchos has partnered on this project with S&K Electronics, ensuring that most manufacturing of the sensor system will occur in Montana. ($4.5 million)

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Defense Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.