Tester: Jobs Bill will expand vets’ services at Fort Harrison

Senator says VA funding is investment in ‘jobs, Montana veterans’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester says the upcoming jobs bill making its way through Congress will invest more than $2 billion to upgrade veterans’ facilities nationwide—including Montana’s Fort Harrison.

Tester today outlined his priorities to better serve America’s veterans during his first Veterans Affairs Committee hearing of the year.  On Tester’s priority list—improved VA health care facilities.

That’s why Tester, also member of the influential Appropriations Committee, agreed to a framework funding plan this week that will create jobs by investing $2 billion in VA facilities.

The funding plan Tester approved specifically sets aside $940 million for various construction projects at VA facilities.  Tester said if passed, the funding could allow Fort Harrison to convert more patient rooms to single-bed rooms.  It could also allow the facility to expand its mental health treatment services.
“This funding will create jobs, jobs and more jobs,” Tester said.  “But it’s also a long-term investment in one of Montana’s most important health care facilities.  And it’s an investment in the tens of thousands of Montana veterans who put their lives on the line for our country and who depend on Fort Harrison for quality health care services.”

Tester also spoke about his other priorities for Montana’s more than 100,000 veterans during today’s VA Committee hearing.  Tester said the VA needs to:

  • Better address veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
  • Upgrade the VA’s information technology infrastructure, such as telemedicine and safer medical records.
  • Address its backlog of disability claims.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Tester told his colleagues and witnesses from the nation’s Veterans Service Organizations today.  “But I know one thing.  If we work together—if both sides of the aisle come together—and if you folks at the table, we’ll do some good work.”