ICYMI: Tester Breaks Washington Gridlock, Passes Seven Bills Through Senate

Tester Writes, Guides Critical Legislation to President Trump’s Desk for Signature

(Lincoln, Mont.)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester broke through the Washington gridlock this week and worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass seven bills through the Senate.

Tester authored the seven bills to help veterans get the care and benefits they have earned, hire more firefighters in Montana, and help rural families connect with the world.

On the farm, important work can’t get done until someone rolls up their sleeves and gets in gear,” Tester said. “The same goes for Congress. This week I worked hard to get Republicans and Democrats to work together on bills that will make meaningful impact in Montana. This is how Congress should work and it is exactly what folks expect from their elected leaders.” 

Tester passed the following bills through the U.S. Senate this week:

  • VA Choice and Quality Employment Act 
    Expands the capacity of the VA to better serve veterans and provides emergency funding to the Veterans Choice Program. This bill allows the VA to move into a new larger clinic in Missoula. This bill is heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
  • Forever GI Bill
    Strikes down the arbitrary 15-year window for veterans to use their G.I. Bill education benefits. It also permits members of the National Guard and Reserve who are training, deployed, or undergoing certain medical treatment related to their service to accrue benefits like active duty service members, and allows veterans to use education benefits to pay for education through area career and technical schools and postsecondary vocational institutions. This bill is heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
  • Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
    Allows the VA to better address the massive disability appeals backlog while helping to prevent future delays and backlogs by letting veterans choose the disability appeal option that works best without being forced to start the process over. This bill is expected to be on its way to the President’s desk soon.
  • Fire Grants Reauthorization Act
    Reauthorizes critical grants that Montana fire departments can use to hire, train, equip firefighters. The grants are available to professional and volunteer fire departments.
  • Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act
    Improve the reliability of phone service that helps Montana families and small businesses throughout the state by requiring the Federal Communications Commission to establish basic quality standards for the transmission of phone calls.
  • Honoring Montana’s Fallen WWII Heroes
    Rename the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Missoula in honor of Doolittle Raider David J. Thatcher and two VA medical facilities in Billings in honor of War Chief Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow and Benjamin Charles Steele. Thatcher, Medicine Crow, and Steele were all Montanans and were decorated war heroes for their service in World War II.