Tester Unites Republicans and Democrats to Defend Montana and Keep Families Secure

Senate Committee Passes Tester’s Bill that Strengthens Border Security and Invests in Disaster Relief

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today united Republicans and Democrats to defend Montana and keep families safe and secure.

The Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly passed Tester’s bipartisan bill, the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which strengthens border security and invests in disaster relief.

“Both parties support my bill because it ignores politics and makes investments that will defend America,” Tester said. “It is a bipartisan solution that should get to the President’s desk because it strengthens our borders, hires more law enforcement officers, and provides communities dealing with floods and fires with the resources they need to fully recover.”

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester is responsible for authoring the legislation that funds the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other law enforcement agencies.

Tester worked with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to make record investments for federal law enforcement. Tester specifically secured funding for the following initiatives:

  • $49 million to hire 375 new CBP officers.
  • $82 million to hire 375 new Border Patrol Agents.
  • $1.6 billion to construct 65 miles of fencing along the southern border.
  • $90 million for Operation Stonegarden grants, which have been utilized by more than a dozen Montana sheriff’s offices and police departments.
  • $148 million to better detect, interdict, and investigate illegal drugs entering the country.
  • $44 million for remote video surveillance systems on the northern and southern border.
  • $60 million for replacement CBP vehicles at the northern and southern border.
  • $46 million for the Law Enforcement Reimbursement Program, which Montana law enforcement departments use to secure local airports.
  • $1.1 billion to counter cyberattacks against the U.S., including $33 million for election security.


Tester also secured more than $3.3 billion for FEMA grants that are available to state, local, and tribal governments. Specific disaster assistance that Tester secured includes:

  • $512 million for State Homeland Security grants that have been utilized by Montanans.
  • $700 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants, which help local fire departments purchase new equipment and recruit new firefighters.
  • $250 million for Predisaster Mitigation Grants, which help counties reduce the impacts of wildfire and floods before the strike.
  • $250 million for Flood Mapping grants.


“Regardless of the time of year, Montanans are constantly dealing with threats from mother nature,” Tester added. “These funds will help communities recovering from floods, fires, and blizzards get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Tester’s legislation will now go to the Senate floor, where it can be taken up by the entire Senate.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 government bills that fund the federal government.