Tester Pushes President Biden to Strengthen Border Security, Combat Drug Trafficking

Senator urges the restoration of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to a Cabinet-Level Position

As part of his continued effort to secure America’s southern border and combat fentanyl trafficking, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to urge President Biden to strengthen the United States’ response to the opioid epidemic.

Tester co-signed a letter to President Biden urging him to restore the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to a Cabinet-level position – a designation it had until 2009. The ONDCP oversees the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs that fund drug tasks forces and the Drug Free Communities program to prevent youth substance abuse. These programs play a critical role in combatting drug trafficking and use in Montana. Elevating this position would allow the Administration to better combat drug trafficking by allowing ONDCP to coordinate efforts across agencies.

“Montanans are losing loved ones to overdoses every day because folks in Washington haven’t done their job to secure the border and keep our communities safe,” said Tester. “I’m not going to sit back and let that happen. I’ll keep pushing the Biden Administration to take real steps to prevent illicit drugs like fentanyl and other dangerous opioids from making their way into our communities and get this crisis under control.” 

Tester has led the charge to combat fentanyl trafficking in Montana, and he fought to ensure that his Protecting America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act and his PREVENT Act were included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The Protecting America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work with other agencies to research additional technologies to target and detect illicit fentanyl and requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop strategies to effectively evaluate region-specific goals to interdict drug trafficking. The PREVENT Act requires DHS to provide drug containment devices to all frontline border patrol agents and ensures that agents have the tools and training they need to safely handle and store illicit fentanyl and other dangerous drugs seized at the border.

Tester is Montana’s leading champion in ensuring America’s border security. He fought to secure $3.85 billion for Land Ports of Entry to modernize and secure the northern and southern border in his bipartisan infrastructure legislation. He was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the 2023 government funding bill, which provided over $80 billion for the Department of Homeland Security and border security efforts. The bill provided $7.3 billion to secure areas between ports of entry, $230 million border security technology, and funding to hire additional border security officers.

Additionally, in 2021 Tester introduced his bipartisan Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act, which would help law enforcement combat drug trafficking by increasing resources for High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Operation Stonegarden – programs that support law enforcement efforts to combat the drug epidemic and boost border security.

You can read the full letter HERE.