House Passes Two Tester Bills as Part of Comprehensive Mental Health Package

Chairman’s Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act and REACH for Veterans Act successfully clear as part of House’s STRONG Veterans Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills championed by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester last week as part of a comprehensive veterans’ mental health package called the Support The Resilience of Our Nation’s Great (STRONG) Veterans Act. This package now heads to the Senate where it must pass before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Far too many servicemembers return home suffering from the invisible wounds of war, and it’s on us to make sure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the tools it needs to connect those who served with their earned support,” said Chairman Tester. “I’m glad the House took steps to combat veteran suicide by clearing my bipartisan bills that’ll strengthen VA’s mental health care workforce, bolster the Veterans Crisis Line, and expand life-saving resources to those who need it.”

The House’s STRONG Veterans Act included the following bipartisan bills authored by Chairman Tester.

Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2021Bipartisan legislation to strengthen VA’s mental health care workforce, expand care options, and support mental health research at the Department.

Revising and Expediting Actions for the Crisis Hotline (REACH) for Veterans ActBipartisan legislation to improve the Veterans Crisis Line’s (VCL) staff training, management, and response to veteran callers at risk of suicide.

As the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Chairman Tester led a Committee hearing in November aimed at increasing collaboration between VA and the Department of Defense to better support transitioning servicemembers and veterans’ access to mental health resources nationwide. In March, the Senator also publically urged VA to eliminate copayments for outpatient medical care and reduce prescription copayments for veterans at high-risk of suicide.