Tester Joins The American Legion to Talk Priorities as Chairman

Chairman addressed hundreds of Legion members from Montana and across the country at annual national legislative conference

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, spoke yesterday to hundreds of members of The American Legion from Montana and across the country gathered for their 2024 national legislative conference.

“Growing up in Big Sandy, Montana, I learned from a young age that America’s veterans are the fabric that make our nation the greatest country in the world,” Tester said. “As Chairman and before as Ranking Member, I’ve been lucky to partner with The Legion to work towards honoring the promises we made to these men and women in every corner of this country. From strengthening mental health care for rural veterans with the Hannon Act, to finally delivering generations of toxic-exposed veterans and their families the health care and benefits they earned with the PACT Act.”

Chairman Tester underscored The Legion’s support of the PACT Act and how thousands of Legion and VSO members were critical in putting pressure on Congress to get the law across the finish line.

Tester continued, “I can’t tell you the number of veterans that I’ve talked to who say ‘the PACT Actchanged my life.’ These folks are exactly why we fought like hell to pass the PACT Act, and it’s why we’re holding VA accountable to implement this law the way Congress intended and the way veterans deserve.”

Tester also highlighted his ongoing legislative priorities as Chairman this Congress, including passing the bipartisan Major Richard Star Act to deliver medically-retired combat veterans their full military benefits and the bipartisan GUARD VA Benefits Act to hold scammers ripping off veterans filing for VA benefits accountable.

Emphasizing the importance of improving veterans’ access to mental health care, especially those living in rural and remote areas, Tester continued: “We’ve also got to keep pushing to connect veterans with the mental health care and services they need—no matter where they live. Mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing our country and our veterans. With you as partners, we’ll keep working to enact innovative solutions that improve veterans’ access to life-saving mental health care.”

A staunch advocate of improving veterans’ access to life-saving mental health care, Tester championed the Hannon Act, named for a Montana veteran who lost his life to suicide, in his capacity as the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to bolster VA’s mental health workforce and increase rural veterans’ access to care through alternative and local treatment options. Continuing his efforts to improve veterans’ access to mental health and suicide prevention services, the Senator is spearheading the bipartisan Not Just a Number Act to require VA to take a more comprehensive look atfactors that best prevent veteran suicide, and the Making Community Care Work for Veterans Act to improve veterans’ access to lifesaving residential treatment programs for mental health and substance use disorder.


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