(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted for a bipartisan funding bill that will give America’s troops a much-needed raise, strengthen the missions at Great Falls’ Malmstrom Air Force Base and invest in the Montana Air National Guard.
Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure $258 million to replace Malmstrom’s aging UH-1N “Huey” helicopters and $159 million to upgrade the engines and blade propellers, and modernize the Montana Air National Guard’s C-130 fleet.
“Our enemies across the globe should take notice because this bill makes our military even stronger,” Tester said. “It strengthens the mission at Malmstrom, invests in the Montana Air National Guard, and does right by our men and women in uniform, past and present. I look forward to the House taking this bill up and getting it to the President’s desk to be signed into law soon.”
Tester also secured additional resources for survivors of military sexual trauma, including $35 million for the Special Victims’ Counsel Program which provides legal advice and guidance for survivors of military sexual assault. In addition, Tester secured $2 million for a sexual assault treatment pilot program and $8 million for clinical training for nurse examiners who treat survivors.
Tester successfully fought to include the following provisions for Montanans:
- 2.6 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces.
- $4 million for Montana State University technology transfer centers, which develop technology partnerships between small businesses and the Department of Defense.
- $6 million for defense wide operations and maintenance for defense critical language and culture program, including at the University of Montana.
- $156 million for eight UH-60 Blackhawks for the Army National Guard.
- $168 million for eight C-130Js for the Air National Guard.
- Added $10 million for chronic pain management research.
- $64 million to restore water sources that may have been contaminated from chemicals used to fight fires on military bases, including $19 million dedicated to National Guard bases.
After the Senate and House of Representatives passed separate 2019 Defense Appropriations Bills, both sides met to negotiate any differences and agree on a compromise bill that will fund the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education. This compromise funding bill also includes funding to keep the government and important programs operating through December 7, 2018.
The Senate voted 93-7 to pass the compromise bill. The House of Representatives must now vote to send the bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law by the September 30th deadline.