Tester delivers for America’s veterans

Senate passes Tester’s bill to fund the VA and do right by our nation’s veterans

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today delivered for America’s veterans by leading the U.S. Senate to adequately fund the VA and uphold our nation’s promise to those who have served our country.

In a 93-0 vote, the U.S. Senate passed Tester’s Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations bill, which funds the VA through September 2016.

Tester was highly critical of the bill, as it was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee in May, because it underfunded the VA by more than $850 million.

In order to make sure the VA has the resources it needs to care for veterans, Tester offered an amendment on the Senate floor that shored up funding for the VA. His amendment was approved unanimously.

“The bill the Senate passed today is a good bill and it honors our commitment to the brave servicemembers and their families who have answered the call of duty,” Tester said. “You have my word that I will be scrutinizing how every dollar is spent because we can’t afford to make these investments without knowing they are producing real results for the veterans who have earned it.”

Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who supported the bipartisan budget deal last month that lifted the budget caps that allowed Congress to provide the VA with the additional resources it needs to meet the growing demand for veterans’ services.

“This money will allow the VA to address an increasing demand for Hepatitis C treatments, to bolster health care for rural veterans, and to ensure we can better recruit and retain the VA doctors and nurses in all of our states. It also provides greater care for Vietnam veterans who are reaching retirement age and treats the physical and mental ailments of veterans returning home after 15 years of war in the Middle East.” Tester added.

In May, Tester offered an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee to increase funding for the VA at a level that better reflected what department officials say is needed to care for veterans. His amendment failed on a 16-14 party line vote.

Without Tester’s amendment there would have been 68,500 fewer veterans receiving the VA medical care they need next year.

Tester is the Ranking Member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs’ Appropriations Subcommittee which is responsible for funding the VA. He is also Montana’s only member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.