Tester urges Bush to sign his legislation for Project SHAD veterans

Senator’s measure will provide permanent VA health care for test subjects

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today urged President Bush to sign into law his measure for veterans who were victims of U.S. weapons testing, now that the U.S. Senate has passed the legislation.

Tester is Montana’s only member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  His legislation guarantees all Project SHAD veterans permanent VA health care.

Project SHAD, which stands for Shipboard Hazard and Defense, was a secret, Cold War military project that exposed unknowing U.S. troops to chemical and biological weapons tests.  The VA’s current ability to treat veterans of Project SHAD will expire in April.

“This is a common sense bill that does right by veterans who became victims while serving our country,” Tester said.  “They can’t afford to wait any longer for this legislation to become law, and I hope the President signs it soon.”

Tester’s measure was included in a larger package of other improvements for Montana’s veterans, which recently passed the Senate.  The measure also:

  • Permanently freezes the deductible charged against veterans in the Disabled Veterans Travel Reimbursement program at the rate of $15.44 per round trip.
  • Expands mental health treatment services to include family members of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder patients. 
  • Directs the VA to conduct a pilot program on allowing the VA to contract out health care to veterans in highly rural areas.

Tester’s Project SHAD legislation is S. 2937.  It was included in Section 803 of S. 2162, the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvement Acts of 2008.