As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Jon is one of Congress’ most effective advocates for veterans. He is committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to hold VA accountable, pass meaningful legislative reforms, and follow through on this country’s steadfast commitment to take care of the men and women who have served in uniform.
Jon knows we must work to improve veterans’ access to health care, benefits, jobs, education, transportation, and housing. And he believes that Congress must take their marching orders from veterans—not the other way around. That’s why Jon routinely holds hearings on critical veterans’ issues and meets with Montana veterans face-to-face.
As the top Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2017 and a member of the Committee since 2007, Tester has been a tireless advocate for veterans suffering from conditions related to the military toxic exposure. He has authored, introduced, negotiated, and passed historic laws to provide long-overdue care and benefits to tens of thousands of veterans suffering from conditions related to their toxic exposure.
He teamed up with Republicans to pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act into law, to ensure that more veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange can access essential care and benefits. And he championed historic legislation to deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans receive their earned health care and benefits under VA for the first time in the nation’s history with his Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act. In a political climate where partisan divide rules in Washington, Jon has successfully worked across the aisle to push these landmark laws across the finish line.
Jon is also leading the push to bolster critical mental health care and resources for veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war. Last Congress, he successfully championed the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, a groundbreaking law to widen and improve veterans’ access to lifesaving VA mental health care and services. And he continues to put forth commonsense legislation like the Revising and Expediting Actions for the Crisis Hotline (REACH) for Veterans Act and Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act to improve veterans’ access to life-saving mental health tools.
He is also continuing to hold VA accountable every step of the way by making sure the Department implements these and other laws—such as his Deborah Sampson Act and VA MISSION Act—as intended by Congress. This includes holding a steady hand of oversight on the VA Caregivers Program, which he fought to expand to veterans of all eras—successfully including language in the VA MISSION Act.
Jon believes veterans deserve action. And they also deserve elected officials who will stand up for them, not stand in their way. He is deeply grateful for the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our nation, and won’t stop fighting until the men and women who served receive the quality benefits and care they have earned.