Tester Hears 2021 Legislative Priorities from Disabled American Veterans

Chairman kicks-off series of hearings with the nation’s leading Veterans Service Organizations on annual priorities

Chairman Jon Tester of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee today oversaw a joint Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs’ hearing to discuss the legislative priorities of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and other leading Veterans Service Organizations for this year.

“Your testimony will cover a variety of issues vital to ensuring we know what priorities to work on this year,” said Chairman Tester. “It’ll tell me how well transition programs are working, what inequalities minority veterans are facing when it comes to receiving VA services, what VA needs to do to improve its support of state programs, and what we can do to end veteran homelessness, among many other issues. We’re here to listen to you. The voice you and your members provide is an important source of information as we attempt to do right by all veterans.”

At the hearing, Tester highlighted the importance of improving the national vaccine supply chain, securing additional COVID-19 vaccines for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and addressing vaccine hesitancy among veterans-especially those in rural areas.

Tester also introduced DAV National Commander Stephen “Butch” Whitehead who outlined the organization’s priorities for the year. Commander Whitehead underscored DAV’s support for strengthening VA health care and infrastructure, expanding caregiver support, finding common ground on toxic exposure issues, and improving mental health and suicide prevention for veterans.

The second panel included presentations from the Student Veterans of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Officers Association of America, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, Minority Veterans of America, and National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Today’s hearing is the first of three legislative presentations from major Veterans Service Organizations. The American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, Wounded Warriors Project, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America will each present their priorities tomorrow.

Tester’s opening statement as prepared for delivery can be found HERE.

Tester’s full Q&A is available HERE.