Tester Advances Bill to Boost Military Readiness

Senator Fights to Include Two Amendments to the 2019 Military Spending Bill

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today advanced bipartisan legislation that provides resources and equipment to our Armed Forces to help keep our nation safe.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester voted for the 2019 Defense Appropriations Act. Tester made the bill stronger by successfully fighting to include two amendments to boost military readiness and support the National Guard and Reserve.

“Montana is on the front lines of training our troops and getting them state-of-the-art technology and equipment,” said Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This bipartisan bill will make sure that we can deliver for our troops when they deploy around the world.”

Senator Tester fought to include $8 million for the Language Training Center Program which prepares special operations troops with language and culture training and include the Defense Critical Language and Culture Program at the University of Montana. The Committee also voted to adopt Tester’s amendment to protect the Language Training Center Program from future attempts to strip its funding.

“The Language Center teaches our military men and women critical skills to survive when they are on the battlefield,” said Tester “When our troops know the native language they are more effective and safe.”

Tester also included his amendment to urge the Department of Defense to bring pay and benefits for the National Guard and Reserve who are training in line with active duty Armed Forces.

“Our Guard and Reserve forces are being called upon like never before to defend our nation. Sometimes we ask them to nearly double the amount of time they spend on active duty. My amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to report on what benefits they need to keep up with their growing duties,” said Tester.

Tester included the following provisions when he worked with Republicans and Democrats to write the defense spending bill:

  • $10 million for Montana Tech Army Research Laboratory for research, education, and technology development in materials and metals processing. 
  • $4 million for Montana State University technology transfer centers which develop technology partnerships between small businesses and the Department of Defense. 
  • $5 million for Advanced Manufacturing, Space, and Optics Laboratories, including the one Montana State University.
  • 2.6 percent pay raise for the Armed Forces. 
  • $70 million for the IT infrastructure of the new electronic health record system.