Tester Sends Bipartisan National Security Bill to President’s Desk

Senator Votes for Big Pay Raise for Troops, Secures Upgrades for Malmstrom and Montana Air National Guard

(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester today joined Republicans and Democrats to send the year’s most important national security bill to the President’s desk.

Tester successfully included critical investments for Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and he supported the largest pay raise for service members in nine years.

“Our enemies across the globe should take notice because this bill makes our military even stronger,” Tester said. “It strengthens the mission at Malmstrom, invests in the Montana Air National Guard, and provides the largest pay raise for our troops in nearly a decade. When the President signs this bipartisan bill into law, our men and women in uniform will be better prepared to keep America safe.”

The National Defense Authorization Act is an annual bill that provides resources and equipment for the military for the following year.

Tester worked closely with Republicans and Democrats to authorize the following projects:

  • 2.6 percent pay raise for military members, the largest since 2010.
  • $9 million to build an apron at the Great Falls International Airport for the Montana National Guard to store their C-130s.
  • $288 million to replace the aging Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
  • $154 million increase to improve ICBM infrastructure.

Congress now needs to appropriate the money to fund these projects.

Tester also pushed to make the following reforms to the Defense Department to better serve military members:

  • Improves the Transition Assistance Program to ensure that service members transitioning to civilian life have access to employment resources to get a quality job.
  • Improves opportunities for service members to obtain professional credentialing while in the Armed Services.
  • Strengthens protections and guidelines for prescribing opioids to service members.
  • Holds government contractors like Tricare, which provide health care to service members and their families, accountable for the quality of care.
  • Restores water sources that may have been contaminated from chemicals used to fight fires on military bases.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate 87-10.