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


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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 by passing the full federal budget for 2023, otherwise known as the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Omnibus Appropriations Package, which funds the government through September 2023. Tester was Montana’s only Senator to vote for the legislation.

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.

“I am always going to stand up for Montana and fight for our local priorities,” said Tester. “I worked with Republicans and Democrats to craft this legislation to ensure our military retains its competitive edge over foreign adversaries like China, delivers the care and benefits our veterans have earned, and invests in rural America. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to help craft this legislation, and am confident that it will deliver for Montana’s families and small businesses.”

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
  • $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

  • $80 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, include $2 billion for mission support services to keep America safe
  • $7.3 billion for between-the-ports security operations and investments
  • $16 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including
    • $6.3 billion for CPB border security operations along the southern and northern border
    • $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 entering the U.S.
  • $65 million to hire 300 additional Border Patrol Agents
  • $8.4 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations and support, including $339 million for border management activities to respond to increased encounters at the southern border and $379.5 million for detention beds
  • $2.9 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • $90 million for Operation Stonegarden to support local law enforcement that participate in joint efforts to secure the northern and southern border
  • $800 million for non-profits and NGOs to provide emergency shelter and services to reduce overcrowding and improve CBP operations at the southern border
  • 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 southern 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 southern 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

Agriculture

  • $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

Housing

  • $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
  • $26.4 billion  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

Education

  • $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

Labor

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

Broadband

  • $364 million for the ReConnect program

Transportation

  • 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 $797.5 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 via a competitive application process.

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 $273 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
  • $1.2 billion increase in Basic Allowance for housing to address price escalations
  • $1.7 billion for 16 additional C-130J aircraft, to modernize 2 Air National Guard operational units
  • $1.0 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account
  • $1.9 billion for medical research, including $130 million for peer-reviewed cancer research, and $150 million for peer-reviewed breast cancer research
  • $427 million for recruiting
  • $107 million for various cyber and artificial intelligence initiatives to continue implementing recommendations from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
  • $225 million to address PFAS contamination on military bases and in neighboring communities, as well as $36 million for aqueous film forming foam removal and disposal
  • $923 million to expand industrial base capacity and support the supply chain across multiple munitions programs in the face of increased requirements
  • $4.3 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


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