Tester to Help Lead Veterans Affairs Committee
Senator pledges to hold the VA accountable, make sure vets get the care they’ve earned
(U.S. Senate) – After spending the last 10 years fighting for Montana’s veterans as the state’s only member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Jon Tester has doubled-down on his commitment to our service men and women by becoming Ranking Member of the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Giving a voice to Montana’s veterans is one of the most important jobs I have as a Senator,” Tester said. “This next Congress I will work with Republicans, Democrats and veterans advocates to hold the VA accountable and deliver for the brave men and women who risked life and limb to protect our most fundamental liberties.”
By accepting one of the Committee’s two top leadership positions, Tester has committed to working with both Republican and Democrats, as well as the Veterans Service Organizations, to hold the VA accountable, get meaningful reforms passed, and make sure our country fulfills its promise to the men and women who have served.
“The VFW wants to congratulate Senator Jon Tester on his selection as the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs” said Bob Wallace, the Adjutant General of the VFW. “Senator Tester has been a strong advocate for America’s veterans and we look forward to working with him in the 115th Congress.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of Jon’s accomplishments while representing the veterans of Montana on Capitol Hill. His accomplishments on veterans’ issues are second to none. On behalf of all the veterans I work with and serve, we thank him and wish him the very best in all of his endeavors,” said Joe Parsetich, former Head of Montana DAV and current Mentor Coordinator for the Veterans Treatment Court in Great Falls.
Tester is widely known as one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for veterans. As Ranking Member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester just spearheaded the passage of major legislation that increases funding for veterans health care by $3.3 billion.
“Senator Tester has long been an advocate for troops, veterans and their families and his appointment as the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs is great news. MOAA looks forward working with Senator Tester in his new role and with the Committee to do all we can to help improve the health and well-being of our Nation’s veterans and their families,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), President/CEO of the Military Officers Association of America.
“I am pleased to hear Senator Tester will help lead the Senate Veterans Affairs committee as the ranking Democrat. Regardless of which side of the aisle a person sits, veterans need the voice of experience, moderation, and reason on Capitol Hill. Jon Tester is that man,” said Ed Saunders LTC (ret) US Army and member of Billings DAV.
Tester also worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft and introduce the Veterans First Act, which will fix the VA’s Choice Program, bring more accountability and transparency to the VA, and enhance benefits and care to more veterans and their families. Despite the fact that this bill was introduced and unanimously passed out of Committee back in April, leadership still hasn’t brought it to the floor for a vote.
“NAMI Montana is excited to have Senator Tester as the ranking member of the Senate Veterans Committee,” said Matt Kuntz, Executive Director of NAMI Montana. “We’ve worked with Senator Tester for years on both issues of national significance to veterans and those of individual Montana veterans in need of help. He’s proven his willingness to go to bat over and over again for our nation’s veterans.”
In addition to being a strong voice for veterans in Washington, Tester is also a constant presence in the state, working directly with veterans on the ground to help them get the care and benefits they’ve earned. Earlier this year Tester launched his Veterans’ Choice Outreach Tour to hear directly from veterans across 28 rural Montana communities. Tester also recently held a Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Great Falls, specifically aimed and helping veterans and entrepreneurs connect. And after more than five years of effort, Tester recently announced that the VA will establish a brand new Vets Center in Helena.