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Currently showing results in the 115th Congress.

  • President Signs Tester Bill to Strengthen Veteran Treatment Courts in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls and Missoula

    Ranking Member Jon Tester's bipartisan bill to bolster veteran treatment courts is now law. President Donald Trump signed Tester's Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, allowing for the hiring of 50 additional Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists across the nation to work with Veterans Treatment Courts and help provide timely access to VA services. "I've seen firsthand the amazing difference that Veterans Treatment Courts make in the lives of Montana veterans," said Tester, Ranking Member...

  • Tester Secures Funding to Give Troops a Raise, Replace Malmstrom’s “Huey” Helicopters

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted for a bipartisan funding bill that will give America's troops a much-needed raise, strengthen the missions at Great Falls' Malmstrom Air Force Base and invest in the Montana Air National Guard. Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure $258 million to replace Malmstrom's aging UH-1N "Huey" helicopters and $159 million to upgrade the engines and blade propellers, and moderniz...

  • Tester Votes to Advance Two VA Nominees

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today voted to send two VA nominees to final consideration. After meeting with each nominee personally and asking them tough questions during their confirmation hearing, Tester voted in support of both Tamara Bonzanto, nominee to be VA Assistant Secretary of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, and James Gfrerer, nominee to be VA Assistant Secretary of Information and Technology. "If confirmed, Ms. Bonzanto and Mr. Gfrerer will be tasked with h...

  • Tester Calls on VA to Finalize an Exit Plan from Health Net

    Ranking Member Jon Tester is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to have an exit plan in place so that veterans' access to health care is not disrupted as Health Net's contract to run the Choice Program ends. The VA's contract with Health Net, the government contractor that helps run the Choice Program, is set to expire September 30, 2018. After that, VA medical centers in states previously served by Health Net will take over scheduling veterans' appointments with private providers, ...

  • Tester Advances VA Funding Bill with Major Wins for Montana

    (U.S. Senate) - The U.S. Senate today passed a bipartisan government funding agreement that strengthens the VA for Montana veterans and delivers a new C-130 aircraft apron for the Montana Air National Guard. This agreement is the result of weeks of negotiating between the House and Senate. Tester secured additional funding for VA health care and for the VA Caregiver Support Program, which Tester recently expanded to veterans of all eras. The compromise bill also includes Tester's amendment to ...

  • Tester Challenges VA to Better Combat Veteran Suicide

    (U.S. Senate) - During Suicide Prevention Month, Ranking Member Jon Tester is challenging the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to ramp up its efforts to connect every veteran in need with mental health care. In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, Tester urges the VA to deploy more of its mental health care and suicide prevention resources to at-risk and vulnerable veterans. "With the renewed focus on enrolling veterans to receive care at VA as they transition from active duty, it was p...

  • Trump Signs Tester’s 19th Bill into Law

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - President Donald Trump has signed U.S. Senator Jon Tester's 19th bipartisan bill into law. Tester's Veterans Providing Healthcare Transition Improvement Act will ensure all disabled veterans who are newly hired as VA physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, and dentists will not have to face the financial hardship of taking unpaid leave to receive necessary medical treatment. "Our law helps disabled veterans find a goo...

  • Tester Grills VA Nominees: “You Have Two of the Most Challenging Positions at the VA”

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today screened two nominees tasked with ensuring that the Department of Veterans Affairs runs smoothly for America's veterans. Tester sat down with both Tamara Bonzanto, nominee to be Assistant Secretary of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, and James Gfrerer, nominee to be Assistant Secretary of Information and Technology, before today's hearing to ask them tough questions about their resumes and visions for the VA. "You both have been nomin...

  • Tester, Sullivan, Roe & Walz Push VA to Study Medical Cannabis as Alternative Therapy for Veterans with PTSD or Chronic Pain

    U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Representatives Phil Roe (TN-01) and Tim Walz (MN-01) are urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to begin clinical trials to better understand the potential benefits or dangers of medical cannabis use.In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the members ask him to begin a large-scale study as soon as possible, so veterans using medical cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain can better understand ...

  • Tester Sends 19th Bill to President Trump's Desk

    (U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester has sent his 19th bill to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law.Tester's bill, the Veteran Transition Improvement Act, will ensure all newly hired VA physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists and expanded-function dental auxiliaries who are disabled veterans will not have to face the financial hardship of taking unpaid leave to receive necessary medical treatment."I will keep working...

  • Tester Bill to Strengthen Veteran Treatment Courts Goes to President

    (U.S. Senate) - The U.S. Senate unanimously passed Ranking Member Jon Tester's bipartisan bill to strengthen veterans' access to substance abuse and mental health treatment through Veterans Treatment Courts. Tester's Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act allows for the hiring of 50 additional Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists across the nation to work with Veterans Treatment Courts and help provide timely access to VA services. Veterans Treatment Courts remove veterans from the regular c...

  • Tester, Murray Take VA to Task for Mismanagement of Caregiver Program

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are taking the VA to task following a new report detailing the Department's mismanagement of the initiative that provides support to caregivers of seriously injured post-9/11 veterans. Tester and Murray called for an investigation following news last year that the VA was dropping veterans and their caregivers from the Caregiver Support Program with little or no notice. The VA Inspector General audited the Program, whi...

  • Tester Secures Upgrades for Malmstrom, Montana Air National Guard in Annual Defense Bill

    (Missoula, Mont.) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured major wins for Montana in an annual national security bill. President Donald Trump today signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act into law. Tester successfully included funding in the bipartisan bill to replace the aging Vietnam-era "Huey" helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, to improve the infrastructure for the Air Force's fleet of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), and to build a new aircraft apr...

  • Tester, Rounds Call for VA to Expand Rural Veterans’ Access to Appeal Hearings

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) are fighting to make it faster and easier for rural veterans to appeal their claims for disability benefits within the VA. Tester and Rounds are calling on the VA and Board of Veterans' Appeals to make sure that rural veterans are able to appeal their disability rating using video hearings in local VA facilities when they can't travel hundreds of miles to be a...

  • Tester & 15 Senators Urge Secretary to Review Impact of Political Agendas at the VA

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - Following a ProPublica investigation suggesting outside political influence on policy decisions at the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA), U.S. Senator Jon Tester is leading the fight to ensure the VA is maintaining its focus on serving the best interests of the nation's veterans. In a sweeping investigation that turned up hundreds of internal documents, ProPublica reports that three unofficial, unelected political advisors, none of whom are veterans, have considerable sw...

  • Tester Holds VA Accountable for Rollout of Landmark Choice Reform Law

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester is taking the VA to task to ensure a quick and smooth rollout of his landmark, bipartisan VA MISSION Act. Tester is telling VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to quickly establish community care networks, which will include local providers who will treat veterans who rely on community care through Tester's VA MISSION Act. While the VA has a full year to implement the new Veterans Community Care Program, delays in ...

  • Six of Tester’s Bipartisan VA Reform Bills Gain Momentum

    (U.S. Senate)-The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee this week debated six bipartisan bills authored by Ranking Member Jon Tester. During a legislative hearing, VA leaders and veteran advocates gave feedback and lent their support to various bills that will improve care for veterans and hold the VA accountable. Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Tester's bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act guarantees that veterans who served off the shores of Vietnam and were exposed to toxin...

  • Tester Doubles Down on Fight to Protect Veterans from Political Agendas at VA

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester is leading the fight to protect millions of veterans from political agendas threatening the VA's ability to deliver health care and benefits. Following reports of political appointees pushing partisan agendas at the VA, Tester called on VA Acting Secretary Peter O'Rourke to stop reassigning and removing career civil servants without political ties. Tester is now leading the call for an investigation into politic...

  • Tester, Sullivan, Udall Fight to Improve VA Services for Native American Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve VA outreach, health care and benefits for Native American veterans. The Senators introduced the VA Tribal Advisory Committee Act to establish a VA Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs. The Committee will facilitate communication and understanding between the VA and Tribal governments to better address the unique barriers Native America...

  • Tester Confirms Robert Wilkie as VA Secretary

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today voted to confirm Robert Wilkie, President Trump's nominee to be VA Secretary. "Mr. Wilkie has experience and a strong commitment to veterans and their families that should serve our men and women in Montana and across our nation," said Tester. "Veterans need Mr. Wilkie as the VA implements our ten bipartisan VA reform bills that we have gotten signed into law, especially as the VA implements our VA MISSION...