Tester, DAV National Commander Press for VA Caregiver Expansion

DAV Endorses Tester’s Bipartisan Bill to Reform Community Care, Expand Caregiver Support Services

(U.S. Senate) – Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster today called for Senate passage of Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan community care reform bill that expands VA Caregiver Support Services to veterans of all eras.

In the first of a series of joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings in which the nation’s leading Veterans Service Organizations will deliver their 2018 legislative priorities, Commander Metcalf-Foster endorsed Tester’s Caring for Our Veterans Act and urged for the Senate to take up and pass the bill.

“There are some in Congress concerned about the cost of expanding caregiver benefits to pre-9/11 veterans. But I believe this is a matter of equity, fairness and of just doing what’s right,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I’ve been troubled by the hollow talk of exercising fiscal constraint in the context of expanding the Caregivers benefit in the Caring for Our Veterans legislation. While politicians campaign on a tax bill that will add billions to the deficit, they are advocating for us to balance the budget on the backs of the most severely wounded veterans of the wars in Vietnam and Korea.”

“More than 80 percent of caregivers provide care to veterans of pre-9/11 eras,” wrote Commander Metcalf-Foster in prepared remarks. “Aging caregivers are struggling to maintain physically demanding duties such as lifting and transferring their loved ones in addition to maintaining the household. Some of these caregivers have now assisted their loved ones for up to four decades. Help for them seems long overdue.”

Tester also welcomed Montanans Joe Parsetich, who also serves as the 4th Junior Vice Commander, and Eric Wells, Commander of the Montana chapter of DAV. Tester met personally with Parsetich and Wells before the hearing.

Tester worked with Chairman Johnny Isakson to introduce the Caring for Our Veterans Act to streamline the VA’s community care programs into one, easy-to-use system with one set of rules for veterans, providers and the VA while bolstering the VA’s ability to care for veterans at VA facilities. Their bill puts a veteran’s medical decisions in the hands of that veteran and their VA doctor.

DAV is one of the 26 veterans and military service organizations that have endorsed Tester’s Caring for Our Veterans Act. More information on Tester’s bill can be found online HERE.

More information about today’s hearing can be found online HERE. The Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees will hold a hearing tomorrow to hear the American Legion’s legislative priorities.