Tester: Congress, VA Must Work for Veterans, Not Special Interests

Veterans Service Organizations Voice Support for Tester’s Bipartisan Community Care Reform Bill

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester today reaffirmed his commitment to advocate and work on behalf of veterans and not special interest groups.

During a hearing with several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), who represent thousands of veterans across the country, Tester doubled down on his commitment to work with America’s veterans to strengthen their access to the top-notch health care and benefits they have earned.

“We’re here because Congress should take its cues from you, not political special interests,” Tester said. “I share your firm belief that we must ensure VA benefits keep pace with the past, present, and future cohorts of veterans. We need a VA that can address the immediate needs of our veterans in a timely and appropriate manner, but is also well-equipped to meet the long-term and future needs of those who have sacrificed on our behalf.”

Five of the groups that presented today have endorsed Tester’s Caring for Our Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation crafted with Chairman Johnny Isakson 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. A full list of the 26 endorsements from veterans and military organizations that collectively represent millions of veterans and servicemembers can be found online HERE.

Tester’s bill bolsters the VA’s ability to care for veterans at VA facilities and puts the decision of where a veteran will receive care in the hands of the veteran and their VA doctor.

Today’s hearing was the third in a series of joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings in which the nation’s leading Veterans Service Organizations deliver their 2018 legislative priorities. The organizations presenting today included Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), American Veterans (AMVETS), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), and Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA).

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 Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) priorities.