Tester Hears Legislative Priorities From The American Legion

Senator Continues Series of Hearings Listening to America’s Veterans

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today oversaw a Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs to hear the legislative priorities of the American Legion.

Montana Legionnaire Roger Hagan of Great Falls represented Montana at the hearing, which is the second in a series of five where Tester will listen to America’s veterans about what they want to see Congress work on this year.

“The American Legion provides a crucial perspective on how the VA is serving veterans in Montana and across America,” said Tester. “I look forward to working with Commander Schmidt, the American Legion and my colleagues in Congress to streamline veterans’ access to timely care and benefits, hold the VA accountable, and provide veterans with the resources they need to succeed.”

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt, accompanied by American Legion leadership and surrounded by Legionnaires and Auxiliary members from across the country, led the presentation of the Legion’s legislative priorities.

Schmidt said that combining the VA’s various community care programs and making the VA the primary coordinator and guarantor of care is the best way to improve access to care for veterans. He called on the VA to modernize its process for handling non-VA claims, medical records, and disability appeals.

Tester asked Schmidt about the importance of reforming the Choice Program before extending or expanding the widely unsuccessful program. Tester has stated that he will not support an extension of the program until reforms are implemented.

The Disabled American Veterans presented before Congress on Tuesday, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars will present their priorities later on Wednesday.