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Currently showing results in the 116th Congress.

  • Tester, Blackburn Ramp Up Oversight of VA’s $16 Billion Electronic Health Record Modernization

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are fighting to keep the VA on target and transparent on its roll-out of the new $16 billion commercial electronic health record system for nine million veterans. The VA is currently undertaking a decade-long transition to bring veterans' health records into the 21st century by ensuring that veterans can have access to a seamless electronic health record across the VA and Department of Defense health systems....

  • Tester Doubles Down on Demand for Answers on VA’s Implementation of MISSION Act

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester today doubled down on his demand for answers on how the VA is implementing the new Veterans Community Care Program. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Tester questioned Dr. Richard Stone, the Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration, about the VA's roll out of the Veterans Community Care Program, which is expected to "go live" on June 6, 2019. These access standards will determine when veterans will go to comm...

  • Tester Opening Statement for Oversight Hearing of Veterans Community Care Program

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today questioned the head of the VA's implementation of the new Veterans Community Care Program. The following is Tester's opening statement, as prepared for delivery: Dr. Stone, thank you for being here today. This Committee worked hand-in-hand with the Administration and Veterans Service Organizations in developing the MISSION Act. It was the result of compromise, and the product of years of work. It sough...

  • Tester Fights for Stronger Benefits for Montana’s 1,000 Gold Star Family Members

    (U.S. Senate) - On Gold Star Wives Day, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is introducing legislation to better support spouses and children who have lost a loved one in service to this country. More than 1,000 Montana family members of service members who died in the line of duty, and of disabled veterans who died from a service-connected condition receive a monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Benefit from the VA. Tester's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act will give these fa...

  • ICYMI: Senators: Include Legal Protections for Military Families in Privatized Housing in Defense Bill

    Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) today called on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act portions of the Ensuring Safe Housing for our Military Act, the senators' legislation to address health, safety and environmental hazards in privatized military housing. The legislation was in response to a recent Reuters investigation that found hazardous living ...

  • Catch Up on Tester’s Recent Efforts to Increase VA Accountability, Transparency

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester is continuing his relentless fight to hold the VA accountable to veterans and their families. As the VA implements a growing number of major, bipartisan reforms, Tester is stepping up his oversight of the VA's efforts to implement the VA MISSION Act, Forever G.I. Bill, and electronic health record modernization, among others. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Tester recently questioned VA Secretary Robert Wilkie about the ...

  • ICYMI: Boozman, Tester Introduce Bill to Address Physician Staffing Shortages at VA

    Recruiting and retaining highly-qualified physicians has long been a challenge for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to turn the tide by allowing the department to compete for the best and brightest doctors coming out of medical school. The VA Hiring Enhancement Act-introduced by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT)-aims to overcome the competitive disadvantage the VA faces in recruiting medical students by aligning ...

  • Tester: VA Budget Request “Doesn’t Jive” With Needs of Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today grilled VA Secretary Robert Wilkie about the VA's proposed 2020 budget. Tester questioned Wilkie over his concern that the VA's budget request does not prioritize efforts to improve VA care through investments in medical personnel and infrastructure, and may shortchange critical Information Technology (IT) efforts required to effectively implement recent major reforms - including the VA MISSION Act, Forev...

  • Tester Opening Statement on VA Budget Presentation

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today heard VA Secretary Robert Wilkie deliver the VA's budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2020. The following is Tester's opening statement, as prepared for delivery: Secretary Wilkie, thank you and your team for being here. Over the last few years, this committee has heard from VA about what it needs to be successful in its mission. We've also engaged with Veterans Service Organizations about what they wa...

  • Tester, Takano Take VA to Task over Proposed Access Standards

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Senator Jon Tester and Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee Congressman Mark Takano today led a group of 55 members of Congress to voice their concerns about the VA's proposed VA MISSION Act access standards that could trigger a massive shift of care from VA facilities to the private sector. In a letter to the VA, the Members share their disappointments that the VA's proposed access standards don't live up to ...

  • Tester, Boozman, Brown Work to Stop Veterans from Being Punished for VA’s Miscalculations

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced legislation to prevent the VA from charging veterans for its own accounting mistakes. The VA annually sends as many as 200,000 overpayment notices totaling thousands of dollars to veterans and their families, sending them into crippling debt and withholding future benefits payments until the debt is paid. These overpayments are often a result of the VA's own accounting errors, b...

  • Tester, Moran Introduce Landmark Veterans Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Bill

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today introduced landmark, bipartisan legislation to improve veterans' access to mental health care and make sure no veteran life is lost to suicide. Their bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act is a comprehensive and aggressive approach to connect more veterans with the mental health care they need and earned. Their bill seeks to improve VA care by bolstering the VA's mental ...

  • Tester Asks for Veterans Service Organization Feedback on Improving VA Mental Health Care

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today asked some of the nation's leading Veteran Service Organizations how the VA can reduce the rate of veteran suicide. Tester asked the organizations, who represent hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country, what the VA should be doing to better deliver quality mental health care to veterans to help curb the high rate of veteran suicide. "We all understand that mental health has been the signature...

  • Tester Asks for Veterans Service Organizations’ Help to Hold VA Accountable to Veterans, Families

    (Big Sandy, Mont.) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester met with some of the nation's leading Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to hear their legislative priorities. Tester asked the organizations, who represent hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country, to tell Congress if the VA is doing enough to address the high rate of veteran suicide, provide justice to Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans, provide equitable care for women veterans, and ensure v...

  • Veterans’ Disability Payments Would be Protected by Tester Bill

    (U.S. Senate) - As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Jon Tester helped introduce legislation today to ensure veterans aren't financially penalized for receiving the benefits they've earned. "Our nation's veterans sacrifice life and limb to protect our country-and many of them now live with permanent disabilities because of it," Tester said. "In exchange for their service and sacrifice, we provide basic disability payments. But right now, if a veteran is under...

  • Tester, Moran Tackle Rate of National Guard and Reserve Suicide

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are stepping up the fight to address the high rate of suicide among members of the National Guard and Reserve. Currently, members of the National Guard and Reserves undergo annual health assessments to identify medical issues that could impact their ability to deploy, but any follow-up care must almost always be pursued at their own expense. The Senators' introduced their bipartisan Care and Readiness Enhancement (CARE)...

  • Tester, Veterans of Foreign Wars Call for More VA Collaboration

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander-in-Chief Vincent "B.J." Lawrence today were in lockstep that the VA must consult organizations like the VFW when they are implementing reforms that will impact millions of veterans. Ahead of today's hearing, Tester also met with Montana VFW members Tom Johnson, Tim Peters, Joe Fletcher, Art and Marilyn Widhalm, Mel Kieninger, and Tom Pouliot. "Mr. Lawrence, as I have said before, we're here because Congress should t...

  • Tester Opening Statement on VFW Legislative Presentation

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today presided over a Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans' Affairs to hear the 2019 legislative priorities of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The following is Tester's opening statement, as prepared for delivery: Mr. Lawrence, I'm honored to have you and the VFW leadership team with us today. It's good to see you again. Where is my crew from Montana? Thank you for being here. ...

  • Tester Statement on Veteran Suicide Prevention Executive Order

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order regarding the troubling rate of veteran suicide: "Our approach to mental health and suicide prevention has to be a team effort with the White House, the VA, Congress, VSOs, local providers, nonprofit organizations, and communities, all united to address the staggering effects of war. This Executive Order is a step in th...

  • ICYMI: Senators Jones, Collins, Tester, and Crapo Introduce Legislation to Eliminate the Military “Widow’s Tax”

    Today, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and his colleagues Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) reintroduced the Military Widow's Tax Elimination Act of 2019 (S.622), a bipartisan bill to end the so-called "Widows Tax." The legislation would repeal the unfair law that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide from receiving their full Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) survivor benefits. Currently, military wido...

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