Tester Questions Homeland Security Nominee Over Montana Priorities

Senator Pushes for Tougher Border Security and Safer Airports

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Tester today questioned Homeland Security Secretary nominee Kristjen Nielsen about her plans for securing Montana’s 540-mile northern border and protecting rural airports.

“It is critically important that Ms. Nielsen understand Montana’s and rural America’s security threats and is willing to work with both parties to keep families safe,” Tester said. “I will continue to vet Ms. Nielsen’s qualifications, and if she is confirmed, I will work closely with her to defend our borders, empower local law enforcement, and strengthen America’s national security.”

Tester urged Nielsen to support the Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Grant Program that helps deploy officers to secure local airports. The Trump Administration has proposed eliminating this important initiative, which could lead to security gaps at Montana airports. Nielsen pledged to Tester that she would review the Administration’s proposal to cut the grant program.

Tester also secured a commitment from Nielsen that under her leadership, the Department of Homeland Security would not advocate for an ineffective and costly coast-to-coast southern border wall. Rather, Nielsen would work with Congress to secure the southern border by utilizing technology and identifying appropriate places where a wall may be most effective-as Tester has long advocated.

Tester demanded that the Department of Homeland Security follow through on its commitment to provide Congress with a comprehensive border wall plan. The department was required to present Congress with a border wall security plan months ago, but has yet to provide it.

Tester is the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.