Tester Leads Hearings with Veterans Service Organizations on Annual Priorities for Veterans and their Families

Chairman gave special recognition to National Commander Joe Parsetich from Great Falls, Montana at annual presentation from DAV

A joint hearing with the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to examine the legislative presentation of Disabled American Veterans. (Official U.S. Senate photo by John Shinkle)

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, led joint hearings of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees this week to hear from the nation’s leading Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) on their annual legislative priorities for veterans and their families.

During the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) hearing on Tuesday, Tester applauded past legislative accomplishments and underscored his continued commitment to working with veterans’ advocates on additional priorities in the 118th Congress—including the Major Richard Star Act. Tester also introduced and gave special recognition to DAV National Commander Joe Parsetich from Great Falls, Montana, a service-connected disabled Vietnam veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Air Force. A champion for veterans, Commander Parsetich was elected last summer to serve as DAV’s National Commander, which Tester lauded as “a damn good choice.”

“We couldn’t have gotten the PACT Act done without you and other VSO partners, and the same goes for Major Richard Star—we’ll need your support to get it across the finish line,” said Tester. “Together, I’m confident we will right this wrong. Commander Parsetich and team, we obviously have a lot to do and your voice is invaluable as we prioritize our efforts. We thank you for your work on behalf of disabled veterans and are grateful for your partnership and input.”

During today’s hearing, Tester heard legislative presentations from The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Student Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, Black Veterans Empowerment Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, Fleet Reserve Association, National Congress of American Indians, and the National Guard Association of the United States. Among the many issues highlighted, organizations recognized the urgent need to pass the Major Richard Star Act. Tester led a press conference alongside military and veterans’ advocates yesterday to urge swift action on this bipartisan bill.

Tester also emphasized the need to pass bipartisan legislation to cap attorney fees for lawsuits related to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to protect veterans and their benefits. The Senator remains dedicated to finding a path forward on bipartisan legislation to protect veterans from scammers looking to prey on their hard-earned benefits, including those expanded under the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. He is also continuing his efforts to build on historic investments made by the PACT Act through his bipartisan VA CAREERS Act and BUILD for Veterans Act.


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