RSS

Minority NewsRSS Feed


Currently showing results in the 115th Congress.

  • Tester Statement Following Blue Water Navy Vote

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today released the following statement after his bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act was blocked from passage on the Senate floor: "I'm incredibly disappointed in the obstructionism that blocked our bipartisan and widely supported Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. Republicans and Democrats have worked in good faith to move this bill with plenty of opportunities for debate along the way. Taking care of our veterans is a cost of war. While...

  • Tester Statement Following Meeting with VA Head of G.I. Bill Implementation

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today released the following statement after meeting with VA Under Secretary for Benefits Paul Lawrence: "I am encouraged that the VA is taking steps to fully identify and address the impacts of late or incorrect G.I. Bill payments for student veterans. Under Secretary Lawrence assured me this morning that the VA will take the necessary steps to ensure these student veterans ultimately receive every penny to which they are entitled and that efforts on b...

  • Tester Statement on Forever G.I. Bill Payments

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today released the following statement in response to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie's decision to reset the implementation of certain provisions in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act due to delayed benefit payments to student veterans. "The VA must ensure that student veterans are receiving their G.I. Bill payments on time. If the contractor who is responsible for implementing the Educational Assistance Act is causing payments to be l...

  • National Guard Association Awards Tester with Highest Honor

    (U.S. Senate) - The National Guard Association of the United States honored U.S. Senator Jon Tester with its highest honor for contributions to the defense and security of the United States. National Guard Association President Brigadier General Roy Robinson presented Tester with the Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service in Support of National Defense for his legislative efforts and work to secure the National Guard with the equipment, health care, and benefits they need. "The Harry ...

  • Tester: It’s Past Time for the VA to Do Right by Veterans Suffering from Toxic Exposure

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester is taking the VA to task for waiting more than 900 days to make a decision on expanding the list of medical conditions associated with presumed exposure to Agent Orange. In March 2016, the National Academy of Medicine recommended the VA expand its list of presumptive medical conditions to include bladder cancer, hyperthyroidism and Parkinson's Disease-like conditions. While historically required to respond to t...

  • Tester Doubles Down on Holding VA Accountable for Crippling Vacancies

    Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester is doubling down on his push to address crippling workforce shortages at the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). Tester recently oversaw a Committee hearing on the 'State of the VA' where workforce vacancies were a central theme. Tester requested information from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie about how the VA is utilizing the tools he worked in a bipartisan manner to secure for the Department to address nationwide workforce vaca...

  • Ranking Member Tester Holds Hearing on “State of the VA” with Secretary Wilkie

    Ranking Member Jon Tester today questioned VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in Wilkie's first appearance before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee as Secretary. Wilkie appeared on Capitol Hill to report on the state of the VA after his first 60 days as Secretary. "Mr. Secretary, as you highlighted in your testimony, 'This is not business as usual,'" said Tester. "Because the stakes are so high, collaboration and partnerships are more critical than ever. In my opinion, it looks as if the VA is di...

  • Tester Opening Statement on ‘State of the VA’ Hearing

    Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Jon Tester today questioned VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, in his first appearance before the Committee as Secretary, about his first 60 days in office. The following is Tester's opening statement, as prepared for delivery: Secretary Wilkie, thank you for being here. Welcome. In your written testimony, you shared five real-life stories of individuals at VA who are making a difference. We don't hear enough about the good things the Agency d...

  • 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...