Tester Statement on Veterans Crisis Line Inspector General Report

(U.S. Senate)-Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester today issued the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General released a report highlighting recent performance problems and recommended solutions for the Veterans Crisis Line:

“We must ensure that when veterans and their loved ones turn to the Veterans Crisis Line, they connect with someone who understands the issues facing folks who have served. The VA must quickly implement the suggested improvements to the crisis line, and I will work to ensure that Congress provides Veterans Crisis Line staff with the resources they need to meet the needs of veterans and their families.”

The VA contracts with a private company to staff the Veterans Crisis Line when capacity is exceeded. Tester is sponsoring the VA Performance Accountability and Contractor Transparency Act, which contains several accountability-focused measures, including authority to charge financial penalties when a contractor’s performance does not meet standards.