Tester Delivers for Montana & National Security in 2023 Government Funding Bill, Successfully Includes Disaster Relief for Yellowstone

Legislation to bolster national security, strengthen rural America;

Invests in Montana universities and businesses;

$916 million for Yellowstone flooding disaster and expanded opportunities for small business relief

As a part of his continued effort to strengthen rural America and improve the country’s competitive edge over China, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today is making targeted investments in Montana and the Department of Defense with the introduction of the full federal budget for 2023, otherwise known as the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Omnibus Appropriations Package which funds the government through September 2023. The full Senate will vote on the bill in the coming days.

As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester was responsible for crafting the FY23 Senate Defense Appropriations Bill which funds the entire Department of Defense, and invests in Montana universities and businesses to improve national security. Senator Tester also secured $916 million in funding for Yellowstone National Park to recover from this summer’s historic flooding.

“Over the past year, I’m proud to have taken input from Montanans and military leaders to craft a government funding bill that invests in rural America and boosts our national security by making targeted investments in our armed forces,” said Tester. “This legislation will strengthen rural America by delivering resources to keep our communities safe, grow small businesses, improve our food systems, and lower costs for Montana’s families. It will also ensure that the United States keeps its competitive edge over China by making targeted investments in our armed forces so that our troops have the resources, technology, and training needed to protect our country.”

As a leader on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester plays a key role in crafting the annual federal budget. Tester’s non-defense priorities in the FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Package include:

Public Safety

  • Putting First Responders First Act to clarify the current tax code ensuring first responders do not have to pay taxes on injury-related compensation when hurt in the line of duty
  • $662 million for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), including $324 million for COPS Hiring Program and $16 million for Anti-Meth Taskforces
  • $770.8 million, an increase of $96.3 million, for Byrne-Justice Assistance Grants (JAG)
  • $95 million for drug courts and $35 million for veterans treatment courts
  • $720 million for Assistance to Firefighter and SAFER
  • $90 million for Operation Stonegarden
  • $471 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), including $302 million for the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and $109 million for the Drug Free Communities program
  • $25 million to repair the Mike Mansfield Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Butte

Border Security

  • $6.3 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) border security operations, including
    • $60 million to hire 125 CBP officers and mission support staff
    • $230 million for CBP border security technologies, including $70 million for non-intrusive inspection systems to improve scanning of vehicles and cargo
  • $8.3 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations and support, including $339 million border management activities
  • $2.9 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • Northern Border Security and Operations
    • Requires CBP to prioritize staffing shortages at northern border LPOEs to help expedite cross-border tourist and commercial traffic while providing significant consideration to the health and safety needs of CBP officers
    • Requires CBP to notify Congress within 15 days of redeploying more than 10 percent of staff in any sector along the northern border to the southwest border or other ports of entry (POE), including the number and location of the personnel diverted, the duration of the temporary deployment, and when the personnel will return to their posts
    • Requires CBP to brief Congress on a plan and schedule for hiring additional agents. Given the number of agents from the northern border who have been redeployed to the southwest border in recent years, the briefing shall also detail the number of planned new agents who will be assigned to secure the northern border
    • Requires CBP to provide a report to Congress detailing operating hours at all northern border POEs and describing how CBP plans to improve the recruitment and retention of CBP personnel at remote northern border ports of entry to sustain those operating hours

Violence Against Women

  • Releases $1.9 billion from the Crime Victims Fund to provide critical services and support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, and other violent crimes
  • $700 million for the Office of Violence Against women – the highest level of funding ever. This includes:
    • $78 million for Sexual Assault Services Program
    • $50 million for Rural Domestic Violence Programs
    • $50 million for Transitional Housing Assistance
  • $130 million for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grants, $55 million for the Sexual Assaults Kit Initiative (SAKI), and $20 million to support state and local forensic activities

MMIP and Public Safety in Indian Country

  • $129 million in DOJ funding to support Tribal justice systems, including:
    • $60 million within the Office of Justice (OJP) for Tribal assistance
    • $34 million for Tribal resources grants and $4 million for the Tribal Access Program within the COPS Office
    • $17 million for Tribal youth juvenile justice programs
    • $11 million for a special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction program
    • $3 million for Special Assistant U.S. Attorney on Tribal lands program within the OVW
    • $1 million for research on violence against Indian women
    • $500,000 for the Indian Country Sexual Assault Clearinghouse
  • $95 million from the Crime Victims Fund set-aside for Tribal governments and agencies in order to meet the needs of survivors in Indian Country, a 5% set-aside
  • $25 million for Tribal Law Enforcement Special Initiatives, which continues funding at enacted levels for the MMIW Tribal Public Safety initiative, Tiwahe recidivism initiative, equipment to collect and preserve evidence at crime scenes, and victim witness specialists
  • $34.8 million for Tribal justice support, which includes $3 million to ensure compliance with the Violence Against Women Act
  • $72 million for Tribal Courts

Indian Country

  • $75 million for Indian Energy activities
  • $3.842 billion for Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Special Trustee, $297 million above FY22
  • $6.928 billion to the Indian Health Service, an increase of $297 million from FY22
  • $550,000 for the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children
  • $1.02 billion for Native American Housing Programs
  • $5.5 million for Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program (Section 184)
  • $22.7 million for Tribal Mental Health Behavioral grants
  • $23.6 million for Tribal Substance Abuse Prevention
  • $3.4 million for Tribal Suicide Prevention Grants


  • $3.5 million for the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program, which is administered by National Center for Appropriate Technologies (NCAT) in Butte.
  • $3.741 billion in funding to provide emergency relief to agricultural producers for drought, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters
  • An increase of $5 million for enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act
  • $1 million for the operation of the USDA Cattle Contract Library
  • $14 million for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
  • $10 million for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN)
  • $15 million for the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and $3 million for the Barley Pest Initiative
  • $265 million in Hatch Act funding, which supports research at the Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations (MAES)
  • $325 million in Smith-Lever Act funding, which supports Montana State University’s Extension work
  • Emergency funding to replenish the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program at USDA NRCS. EWP has offered critical support to residents of south-central Montana who work negatively impacted by this summer’s flooding in the Yellowstone River watershed
  • $22.3 million for the National Organic Program

Energy and the Environment

  • $1.5 billion in disaster relief funding for the National Park Service, including $916 million for Yellowstone National Park to recover from this summer’s flooding
  • $4.4 billion for wildfire suppression
  • Reauthorization of PILT, with expected payments at $515 million
  • Passage of Senator Tester’s bipartisan Sun River Hydropower Authorization Act
  • $8.67 million for the Rocky Boys/North Central Rural Water System
  • $3.9 million for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Milk River Project
  • Passage of Senator Tester’s bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act
    • $4.97 million in Chronic Wasting Disease Research
  • $45.07 million for Land and Water Conservation Projects in Montana
    • $11.3 million for Big Hole River Access (BLM)
    • $1 million for Blackfoot River Watershed (BLM)
    • $12 million for Montana Conservation Areas (FWS)
    • $770,000 for Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (NPS)
    • $9 million for Lolo National Forest (USFS)
    • $3 million for Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (USFS)
    • $2 million for Custer-Gallatin National Forest (USFS)
    • $6 million for the Upper Thompson Connectivity Project (USFS)
  • $16.7 million from the Great American Outdoors Act to address deferred maintenance needs in National Forests in Montana
    • $2.291 million for deferred maintenance in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
    • $4.38 million for deferred maintenance in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest
    • $2.208 million for deferred maintenance in the Flathead National Forest
    • $5.020 million for deferred maintenance in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest
    • $584 million for deferred maintenance in the Kootenai National Forest
    • $2.255 million for deferred maintenance in the Lolo National Forest
  • $7.68 million for the Great American Outdoors Act to address deferred maintenance needs in the BLM’s Montana/Dakotas region
  • $60.8 million for the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program


  • $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program
  • $6.39 billion for the Community Development Block Grant formula program, a $1.55 billion increase from FY22, for local economic and community development projects that benefit low- and moderate-income areas and people
    • $85 million for a new “Yes In My Back Yard” grant program to incentivize affordable housing production
  • $26,402,000,000 for the renewal of tenant-based vouchers, including renewal of veterans affairs supportive housing vouchers
    • $7.5 million for Tribal HUD-VASH vouchers
  • $225 million for manufactured housing preservation and revitalization
  • $57.5 million for housing counseling
  • $170 million for Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (Neighborworks)
  • $13.5 million for the Self-help homeownership opportunity program (SHOP)

Health Care

  • Reduced the deficit by $9.5 billion by ending a Medicaid flexibility policy tied to the pandemic
  • Extends telehealth eligibility for Medicare, expanding access to care for rural communities  
  • $47.5 billion for the National Institute of Health
  • $9.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control
  • $1.5 billion for the second year of ARPA-H
  • $350 million in flexible funding for public health infrastructure and capacity to bolster public health infrastructure and rebuild the workforce at the state and local level
  • $1.6 billion to states to address the opioid epidemic through the State Opioid Response Grant program

Child Care

  • $11.996 billion for Head Start. Within this total, the bill provides a $596 million cost-of-living adjustment for Head Start staff, and $262 million in quality improvement funding, which programs can use to recruit and retain staff among other activities
  • $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant


  • $18.4 billion of funding for Title I grants to low-income school districts
  • $15.5 billion for special education programs
  • Increased the maximum Pell grant award by $500, bringing the total to $7,395


  • Provides a $25 million increase to the NLRB, for the first time since 2014.


  • $364 million for the ReConnect program


  • Total of $62.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, including $1.1 billion to reduce backlog of structurally deficient bridges
  • $354 million for the Essential Air Service
  • $10 million for the Small Community Air Service Development Program to ensure small airports in rural areas can continue to improve air service and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $1.5 million for small-urban, rural, and Tribal transit providers

As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester is responsible for crafting the annual Defense Appropriations bill which will provide $792.1 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and related activities in FY23. Tester’s bill prepares our military against our adversaries and ensures America retains its competitive edge over China while using made-in-Montana cutting-edge solutions and next-generation research. Montana can receive up to $181.7 million through this legislation, with up to $126.7 million going to Montana universities, and up to $55 million going to Montana small businesses to further national defense interests. Potential funding for Montana universities and businesses was secured through existing Department of Defense programs and a will ultimately be distributed through a competitive application process. Potential defense funding for Montana universities and businesses through Tester’s bill is outlined below:

Funding for Montana Universities includes:

Montana State University: $53.7 million

  • $30 million for Quantum Technology Research
  • $10 million for Stretch Broken Carbon Fiber for Aircraft Structures
  • $5 million for MilTech Core Finding
  • $5 million for MilTech Support of Marine Corps Warfighting Lab
  • $3.7 million for TechLink

University of Montana: $51 million

  • $20 million for Language Training Centers
  • $15 million for the Mansfield Center’s Ethics and Public Affairs Program
  • $12 million for Pathfinder Cyber Initiatives
  • $4 million for Advanced Warfighter Physiology and Operations Readiness

Montana Tech University: $22 million

  • $12 million for Materials Processing Manufacturing Technology
  • $10 million for Materials Technology for Rare Earth Elements Processing

Funding for Montana businesses includes:

Bozeman Area: $11.2 million

  • $7.2 million for “Reveal” to develop Farsight Software for Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • $4 million for “S2 Corporation” to develop Wideband Radio Frequency Sensors

Columbia Falls Area: $27 million

  • $7 million for “uAvionix” to develop Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System comms systems
  • $20 million for “Nomad GCS/ BlueHalo” to develop Counter Small Unmanned Aerial System High Energy Lasers

Butte Area: $12 million

  • $12 million for “Universal Technical Resource Services (UTRS)” to continue Titanium Production

Missoula Area: $4.93 million

  • $4.93 million for “Maztech” to develop their Lethality Smart System

Chairman Tester’s legislation invests in our troops and our readiness by providing increases to the following important programs:

  • The bill fully funds the 4.6 percent pay raise for our troops and adds $248 million for military family support programs, including: $85 million for the National Guard Youth Challenge, $50 million for Impact Aid, $25 million for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon program, and $20 million for Impact Aid for children with disabilities
  • $921 million increase in Basic Allowance for housing to address price escalations
  • $3 billion to improve readiness, including providing for increased training and maintenance activities
  • $1.7 billion for 16 additional C-130J aircraft, to modernize 2 Air National Guard operational units
  • $1.5 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account
  • $1.2 billion for medical research, including $130 million for peer-reviewed cancer research, and $130 million for peer-reviewed breast cancer research
  • $805 million in special and incentive pays to help with recruitment and retention
  • $800 million for basic research, including $400 million for the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program
  • $277 million for various cyber and artificial intelligence initiatives to continue implementing recommendations from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
  • $245.9 million to address PFAS contamination on military bases and in neighboring communities, as well as $81 million for aqueous film forming foam removal and disposal
  • $1.4 billion to expand industrial base capacity and support the supply chain across multiple munitions programs in the face of increased requirements
  • $4.7 billion to upgrade degrading and outdated infrastructure

Chairman Tester’s legislation invests in global security by supporting Ukraine’s efforts against Russian invasion in the following ways:

  • $9 billion to provide assistance, including training, equipment, weapons, logistics support, supplies and services, salaries and stipends, sustainment, and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine
  • $11.88 billion to replenish US stocks of equipment provided to the Government of Ukraine or to foreign countries that have provided support to Ukraine at the request of the United States through drawdown authority
  • $964 million to increase production of critical munitions to replace defense articles sent to Ukraine or foreign countries that have provided support to Ukraine at the request of the United States
  • $7 billion for continued military, intelligence, and other defense support
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to report on measures taken to account for United States defense articles provided to Ukraine, particularly those that require enhanced end-use monitoring