Tester Delivers Major Wins for Montana, National Defense, and Border Security in Final 2024 Government Funding Bill

As Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator wrote the bill that funds our military to keep our country safe;

Package includes key Tester-backed funding for DHS to help secure the border

As part of his continued efforts to defend Montana and ensure our servicemembers have the resources they need to keep our country safe, U.S. Senator Jon Tester voted to pass a bipartisan package of annual government funding appropriations bills that included the defense bill he wrote as chairman of the Senate committee that sets the military’s budget, as well as critical funding to help secure our southern border and combat fentanyl trafficking.  

As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester was responsible for crafting the FY24 Senate Defense Appropriations Bill, which funds the entire Department of Defense (DOD) and invests in Montana universities and businesses to improve national security. Additionally, the Tester-backed government funding bill will fully fund the rest of the U.S. government through the 2024 fiscal year. 

“It’s critical that our brave men and women in uniform, from Malmstrom and MANG to those stationed overseas, have the resources they need to defend our freedoms and keep our country safe,” said Tester.“As Chairman of the Senate committee that sets our military’s budget, I’m proud to have worked with Republicans and Democrats on a strong bipartisan bill that will invest in our ability to stay ahead of the threat of China, defend our country from foreign adversaries while standing firm with America’s allies, and support our servicemembers and their families. I’m confident this targeted package will deliver for Montana’s families and small businesses, provide additional resources to help secure our southern border and combat the deadly flow of fentanyl into our communities, and keep America the greatest country in the world.”

As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester is responsible for crafting the annual Defense Appropriations bill which will provide $825.9 billion for the DOD and related activities in FY24. 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.

Chairman Tester’s defense budget invests in our troops and in Montana, including:

  • A 5.2% pay raise for our troops.
  • Adds $30 million for recruiting and advertising efforts to address persistent recruiting challenges.
  • Adds $182 million for radars, radar upgrades and communications equipment to protect the U.S. homeland from Chinese surveillance efforts.
  • Adds $92 million to improve U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s deterrence.
  • Adds $4.6 million to the Special Inspector General for Operational Atlantic Resolve for additional oversight over the Department’s activities related to Ukraine.
  • $105.5 million in funding for defense-related research and programs at universities in Montana.
  • An additional $200 million in investments in the supply chain, industrial base, and workforce for the Sentinel Program.
  • $840 million for eight additional C-130J aircraft for the Air National Guard that will help ensure MANG’s C-130J deliveries remain on schedule.

Tester backed wins for border security in the overall government funding bill include:

  • $61 billion in discretionary spending for the DHS, a $1.1 billion increase FY23.
  • Funds 22,000 U.S. Border Patrol Agents and 150 Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to help secure our southern border, and critical funding that includes:
    • The highest level over funding ever provided to hire new U.S. Border Patrol Agents – $494 million
    • A major investment in hiring new CBP officers at ports of entry – $19 million
    • A boost to overtime pay for USBP agents working tirelessly to secure our borders – $125 million
  • $9.5 billion for ICE, a $1 billion increase over FY23 including increased officers and detention and removal resources, following Tester efforts to ensure ICE is properly funded to prevent mass release of detainees.
    • 41,500 new detention beds for an increase of 7,500 or 24% over FY23 – $355 million
    • Additional ICE law enforcement personnel, including deportation officers – $15 million
    • Critical funding to ensure that asylum seekers are processed quickly, ports and other border facilities are not overcrowded, and USBP has the tools it needs to improve border security – $2.2 billion
  • Increased funding for border technology, including funding to purchase new and install NII border scanning technology, following Tester efforts to ensure Congress fully funded fentanyl scanning technology at our borders.
  • $19 billion for CBP, an increase of $3 billion over FY23.
  • $8.4 billion for CBP Border Security Operations, a $2 billion increase over FY23.
  • $1.7 billion for USBP border management, which includes funding for processing facilities, medical support, and transportation.
  • $3 million for a Northern Border Coordination Center.

Additional Tester backed government funding wins for Montana include:

  • $469.6 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including:
    • $298.6 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program to combat illegal drug trafficking
    • $109 million for the Drug-Free Communities grant program.
  • $1.19 billion for TRIO.
  • $1 billion increase in child care programs from FY23.
    • $8.75 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), a $725 million or 9 percent increase from FY23.
    • $12.27 billion for Head Start, a $275 million increase over FY23.
  • Prohibits any taxpayer funding from going to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Additional wins for Montana secured by Tester in the first package of FY24 government funding bills can be found HERE.