(U.S. Senate) – The Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation from U.S. Senator Jon Tester to authorize several Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) construction projects in fiscal year 2023 to better serve veterans, including at the Fort Harrison VA facility in Montana. The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
“I’ll always fight to connect veterans with their hard-earned health care and benefits,” said Tester. “That’s why I’m glad the Senate took swift action to pass my bipartisan bill that’ll deliver VA projects across the country including much-needed investments at Fort Harrison. This legislation will allow us to keep our end of the bargain when it comes to delivering veterans the quality care they need and have earned, and I’ll keep pushing to get it across the finish line.”
Tester’s Fiscal Year 2023 Major Medical Facility Authorization Act will authorize several VA construction projects this year, including at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center in Montana for the construction of a new central utility plant and parking garage to better serve veterans receiving care at the campus. As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured the funding for this project as part of the federal omnibus appropriations package for fiscal year 2023.
These efforts build upon historic infrastructure investments in Tester’s Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The PACT Act invested in VA’s infrastructure workforce through new recruitment and retention incentives, providing funding for 31 new facilities in 19 states, and delivering additional tools to build clinics more efficiently in the future including with the Department of Defense. The legislation also gave VA expanded authority to repurpose or lease out unused or vacant Department buildings benefiting veterans and saving taxpayer funds in the process.
Continuing his push to strengthen veterans’ access to health care and benefits, Tester is also pushing to pass his commonsense Build, Utilize, Invest, Learn, and Deliver (BUILD) for Veterans Act of 2023 to modernize delivery of VA infrastructure projects, bolster the Department’s workforce, and save taxpayer dollars.
As the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester has led the way in expanding veterans’ access to care in Montana—securing resources to build new and modernized facilities across the state. Through years of focused work with multiple Administrations of both parties, and working across the aisle in Washington and with communities across Montana, Tester’s efforts resulted in new facilities opening in several areas including eight that opened in the last three years in Fort Harrison in Helena, Missoula, Miles City, Bozeman, Great Falls, Havre, and two in Butte.