Tester Delivers Critical Boost to Homeland Security & Law Enforcement Priorities for Montana

Bills considered fund TSA, FEMA, law enforcement initiatives to combat crime, trafficking, opioids & meth

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today secured billions in funding for critical homeland security and law enforcement priorities for Montana and the country, as part of a series of bills to fund the government for the next fiscal year.

Tester today also proposed a series of amendments to invest in real national security priorities, rather than the Trump Administration’s ineffective and wasteful border wall. This would include re-directing $5 billion in additional funding that President Trump wants to use for the wall towards investments including in border technology, TSA Screening, and FEMA flood mapping. It would also prevent the diversion of $3.6 billion in critical military construction projects the President intends to use to pay for the wall, and would block further transfers by the President that circumvent the will of Congress and taxpayers.

“These bills fund critical national and homeland security priorities including cybersecurity, election security, Coast Guard readiness, and disaster relief, as well as important law enforcement initiatives that keep communities across Montana safe,” Tester said. “However it also includes $5 billion to build an ineffective border wall at the expense of American taxpayers- a wall that will do nothing to fix the current situation at the border and that comes at the expense of the programs that actually protect Americans from threats. We just saw the President ransack $6.1 billion from the military for his wall-I’m putting my foot on the brakes today because another $5 billion is a bridge too far.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 bills that fund the federal government each year. Among the Montana provisions Tester successfully included in today’s Appropriations bills are:

Anti-Drug Initiatives:

  • $127 million for Customs and Border Protection to procure 200 small scale non-intrusive inspection equipment to assist detection of opioids, and $32.95 million for ICE to fully annualize its counter-opioid initiative
  • $12 million for the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Task Force program, and $10 million for the DEA to help state and local law enforcement meth lab cleanup and containment programs.

Assistance to Firefighters Grants:

  • $355 million, a $5 million increase, for Fire grants which provide equipment and training to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters. Montana receives nearly $2 million annually from these grants.

SAFER Grants:

  • $355 million, a $5 million increase, for SAFER grants which help communities increase or maintain the number of trained firefighters. Montana receives $2 million annually from these grants.

Operation Stonegarden:

  • $90 million for Operation Stonegarden grants which provides funding to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance coordination with CBP and Border Patrol to defend America’s borders. Last year, Montana received $1,878,212 in Operation Stonegarden funding .

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office:

  • $335 million for the COPS Office, a $32 million increase over FY19. It also includes $245 million for the COPS Hiring Program, and $27 million for tribal assistance.

Byrne JAG Enforcement Programs:

  • $545 million for the Byrne JAG Assistance Grants, a $122 million increase over FY19. The Byrne JAG program provides flexible funding to states and localities to help combat crime in their communities. Last year, Montana received more than $924,000 in Byrne JAG funding.

Bulletproof Vest Partnership:

  • $27.5 million for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. This funding helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests. Senator Tester supported legislation to reauthorize the program during Police Week earlier this year.

Violence Against Women Act:

  • $500 million for the Office of Violence Against Women, a $2.5 million increase over FY19. This includes $43.5 million for the Violence Against Women Act Rural Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement Grant, and $36 million for transitional housing assistance.

Victims of Child Abuse Act:

  • $27 million for VOCAA, a $4.5 million increase over FY19. This funding supports Children’s Advocacy Centers across Montana, and helps bring law enforcement, medical professionals, and victims advocacy groups together to investigate suspected child abuse.

Drug and Veterans Treatment Courts:

  • Increase funding for drug courts and veterans treatment courts. It provides $80 million for drug courts, a $3 million increase over FY19; and $23 million for veterans treatment courts, a $1 million increase over FY19.

Human Trafficking:

  • Includes $85 million for grants to combat human trafficking, $2 million to enact early intervention programs to prevent the trafficking of girls in the juvenile justice system, and $1 million for a national study on law enforcement response to sex trafficking of minors, which will focus on treating minors as victims.

STOP School Violence Act:

  • $100 million for the STOP School Violence Act, a $25 million increase. This funding can be used to improve school safety, or training teacher and school administers on how to identify, respond and address signs of violence or mental health needs.

TSA R&D Initiative for Small Airports:

  • $2 million new research and development initiative for TSA to develop a reduced size computed tomography (CT) machine for use in small and rural airports.

Domestic Terrorism:

  • Directs DOJ to issue a report on domestic terrorism, including potential threats, groups deemed to be domestic terrorist, and a breakdown of how the DOJ uses its resources to deter, combat, and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism and extremism.

Lightweight vehicle surveillance systems, Bozeman:

  • $15 million for Customs and Border Protection to purchase approximately 18 vehicles including work performed by FLIR Corp in Bozeman.

Montana State University MilTech:

  • $7 million for Partnership Intermediary Agreements, which supports a partnership between DHS Science and Technology and Montana State University, to use technical expertise at MilTech and the Applied Research Lab to help transition innovative technologies to address critical mission needs across DHS.
  • $3 million to support collaboration between MSU and DHS to continue to develop software analysis services that identify and measure security weaknesses in software design for data researchers, and program developers.

S2 Corporation, Bozeman:

  • $10 million for DHS S&T to advance the use of a novel wideband stare radio frequency (RF) sensor and signal processing capability, spectrum analysis, and direction finding equipment with precision geolocation tracking and targeting capability.