Tester Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Transparency for VA COVID-19 Relief Funds

Chairman’s VA Transparency & Trust Act would require transparency and oversight on VA’s spending practices to support Montana veterans & families during the pandemic

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jon Tester recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report to Congress on the emergency funding provided to the Department to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senator’s VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 would direct VA to submit bi-weekly reports to Congress on how COVID-19 relief funds are allocated—providing committee leaders strong oversight over the Department’s spending.

“Veterans expect their public servants to be responsible stewards of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars—plain and simple,” said Chairman Tester. “With billions provided by Congress to VA for delivery of care and benefits during the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that veterans have confidence in VA’s spending practices. The VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 will provide Congress with the information we need to ensure VA is spending COVID-19 relief funds appropriately and in a way that best serves our veterans.” 

Tester introduced this bill alongside Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.).

As Chairman, Tester fought tirelessly to secure billions in the American Rescue Plan to deliver targeted relief to veterans in Montana and across the country during the COVID-19 crisis. This included $14.5 billion for VA to provide health care services and related support to eligible veterans, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced telehealth capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and personal protective equipment and supplies for clinical employees. He also successfully delivered nearly $20 billion as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $60 million in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to strengthen VA’s response to the outbreak.

Text of the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 can be found HERE.