Tester Sends Two Bills to Target Fentanyl Trafficking to President’s Desk

Senator secures provisions from his Protecting America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act and PREVENTS Act in National Defense Bill

In his continued push to protect Montana’s communities and law enforcement officers, U.S. Senator Jon Tester yesterday successfully ensured that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included key provisions to support law enforcement and combat illicit fentanyl trafficking.

The provisions, including those from Tester’s Protecting America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act, require that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) work with other agencies to research additional technologies to target and detect illicit fentanyl, including the chemical used to make it and after it has been pressed into pill-form. The legislation also requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop strategies to effectively evaluate region-specific goals to interdict drug trafficking.

Tester’s PREVENTS Act to require DHS to provide drug containment devices to all frontline border patrol agents also passed through NDAA. This legislation will ensure that agents have the tools and training they need to safely handle and store illicit fentanyl and other dangerous drugs seized at the border.

The bills now head to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

“Illicit fentanyl is wreaking havoc on Montana’s communities and it’s putting a real strain on the folks working every day to keep us safe,” Tester said. “This bill will ensure our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to secure our border, stop fentanyl from reaching our communities, and put an end to this crisis once and for all. I’m proud to see it headed to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.”   

Other key Montana priorities championed by Tester in the NDAA included provisions to raise servicemember salaries, replace the aging Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with next-generation Ground Based Strategic Deterrent at Malmstrom Air Force Base, and a number of measures to improve homeland security.

Tester has led the charge to combat fentanyl trafficking in Montana. In April, Tester cosponsored two bipartisan bills to increase the recruitment and retention of Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents. Tester’s Securing America’s Ports of Entry Act would require CBP to hire additional agents to meet staffing needs, and his Border Patrol Pay Security Act would increase overtime pay for Border Patrol agents.

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.