Tester Statement on Republican-Backed Bill that Led to Commission to Study Veterans’ Facilities Nationwide

U.S. Senator Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today released the following statement on a 2017 bill, authored by Republicans and later signed into law by former President Trump as part of the VA MISSION Act, to create a commission to study Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities in Montana and across the country:

“As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, fighting for Montana’s veterans is my highest priority. That’s why I expressed my concerns directly to VA Secretary McDonough today that any reduction in health care services for Montana veterans is a non-starter with me. I’ll be working to ensure this multi-year process protects Montana veterans, particularly those in rural areas, and ensures timely access to their earned health care.”

In 2017, Republicans voted for the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review Act, which required the Department to review all of its health care facilities across the country. It also required VA to make recommendations for changes to a presidentially-appointed commission known as the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission. These recommendations are the first step in a multi-year process—they can include remodeling, building new facilities, moving, or closing facilities. Under this process, the recommendations must be accepted by the Commission, the President, and Congress. Any approved changes would then begin no later than March 30, 2026.