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Currently showing results in the 116th Congress.

  • Tester Secures Vote on his Landmark Bill to Provide Benefits to Vets Exposed to Agent Orange as Part of Must-Pass Annual Defense Legislation

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester successfully secured his landmark Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - a must-pass annual defense bill that the Senate will vote on later this month. Tester's bill requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide benefits for veterans suffering from diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Currently, thousands of Vietnam veterans living with chronic health c...

  • As COVID-19 Cases Surge, Tester Seeks Answers on VA’s Capacity to Protect Health Care Workforce & Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - Following surges in novel coronavirus cases nationwide, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester is pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure it is well-equipped to protect employees and veterans from COVID-19. At a committee hearing yesterday, Tester questioned Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health Dr. Steven Lieberman regarding the state of VA's supply chain, and plans to ensure that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employ...

  • Tester Designates June 27th as Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day for Servicemembers & Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - A resolution backed by U.S. Senator Jon Tester unanimously passed the Senate this week, designating the month of June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month and June 27th as National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day. "Many of our nation's veterans suffer from invisible wounds of war such as post-traumatic stress as a result of their service to our country," said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "The reality is that we've got to do m...

  • Tester, Boozman Introduce Legislation to Expand VA Benefits for Vietnam Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act to expand wartime benefits to veterans who served in the Vietnam War and have been ineligible for assistance because of differences between the war era dates at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, DoD recognizes the Vietnam War era as November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 while VA recognizes the Vietnam War era as February 28, ...

  • Tester Urges Timely Service Record Retrievals for Montana Veterans During Pandemic: ‘We simply cannot leave our nation’s veterans behind’

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester is urging the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to provide timely service of record retrievals for veterans in Montana and across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the ongoing national health crisis, veterans nationwide have been experiencing increasing delays in NPRC's retrieval of their service records, which have impeded their ability to prove eligibility to receive benefits from the ...

  • Disabled Vets Will Receive Lifetime Access to National Parks After Tester Bill Unanimously Passes Senate

    (U.S. Senate) - After sustained efforts from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Senate unanimously passed S.327, the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act, legislation to make all veterans with service-connected disabilities eligible for a free, lifetime entry to United States national parks and other federal lands. "This bill makes our most treasured, beautiful places-in Montana and across the country-freely available to our country's disabled veterans," said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veteran...

  • Tester Holds Roundtable Discussion with Administration and Veterans Service Organization Leaders on Toxic Exposure

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester held a roundtable discussion today with Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), stakeholders, and veterans' advocates to address longstanding issues associated with the effects of toxic exposures on our nation's servicemembers and veterans. At the roundtable, Tester questioned Veterans Health Administration Chief Consultant on Post-Deployment Health Services, Dr. Patricia Hastings, on the Administration's repeated delays in ad...

  • Senate Passes Tester, Moran Bill to Expand Protections for Military Families Impacted by COVID-19

    (U.S. Senate) - The Senate passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and provide additional legal protections for servicemembers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Senators' legislation expands SCRA protections to servicemembers who were previously issued orders to change duty stations but, due to the global pandemic, received a stop mo...

  • Tester Presses VA Officials at Hearing to Build Resilient Supply Chain to Protect Veterans from COVID-19: ‘We’re not where we need to be’

    (U.S. Senate) - At a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Ranking Member Jon Tester pressed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to build a stronger, more resilient and efficient supply chain to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to protect veterans and health care workers. Tester also urged private sector professionals to increase production of life-saving supplies domestically. At the hearing, Tester questioned Veterans Health Administration ...

  • Tester Leads Bipartisan Effort to Expand VA Services for Homeless Veterans

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester is backing bipartisan legislation to strengthen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services for homeless veterans, and spearheading an effort to expand testing capabilities for this vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has affected tens of thousands of homeless veterans as shelters have closed and funding for vital services have become strained. To assist these veterans during the pa...

  • Tester, Colleagues Spearhead Legislation to Tackle Veteran Unemployment During COVID-19 Crisis

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester and his colleagues are spearheading bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address the increasing number of veteran unemployment during the COVID-crisis. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the veteran unemployment rate across the country has risen exponentially-from 3.1 percent in 2019 to 11 percent in April 2020. To help curb the alarming increase of unemployment, the Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020 would crea...

  • Tester, Moran Lead Bipartisan Call for Review of VA Native American Direct Loan Program

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are leading their colleagues in calling for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Native American Direct Loan program (NADL). This program allows eligible Native American veterans to finance the construction, purchase, or improvement of a home on Federal trust land. "Given the passage of time since your 2002 report, the...

  • Tester Leads Hearing on VA Priorities and Oversight of CARES Act During Public Health Crisis

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, today led a committee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal years. Tester also addressed unused supplemental funding meant for VA's COVID-19 response efforts under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. At the hearing, Tester pressed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for more information on how CARES Act funding is being a...

  • Tester Statement on Memorial Day

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, released the following statement today in honor of Memorial Day: "It's an understatement to say that Memorial Day is a special day for this country. It's a day that we honor our men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to this country-and died in service. "The fact of the matter is that every day should be Memorial Day in this country. Because without the folks who serve us, this ...

  • Ahead of Memorial Day, Tester & Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act

    (U.S. Senate) - Ahead of Memorial Day, Senate Veterans' Affairs Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is introducing bipartisan legislation with Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to help states cover the increasing costs of operating and maintaining veteran cemeteries. Under current law, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to award a maximum of $5 million for Operations and Maintenance Program grant applications per fiscal year-funding u...

  • Tester, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Reinstate Critical 48-Hour Review Period that Ensures Veteran Representation in Disability Claims Process

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) led Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) in introducing legislation to ensure veterans and their representatives have 48 hours to review and dispute disability claims before they are finalized. Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed a rule to limit representative access to veterans' electron...

  • Breast Cancer Screening Coverage Expanded for Servicemembers and Veterans on TRICARE Following Tester Push

    (U.S. Senate) - Following efforts by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester, the Department of Defense announced that it will implement a new policy covering 3D breast cancer screening for female servicemembers and veterans on TRICARE starting at the end of the month. This announcement follows Tester's bipartisan push to provide servicemembers, retirees, and their families with this life-saving coverage through his Better and Robust Screening Today (BRST) Act. "This i...

  • Tester, Moran Lead Bipartisan Call for Reimbursement Plan to Support VA’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), along with Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Chairman John Boozman (R-Ark.), are requesting that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outlines its reimbursement plans for services provided to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of VA's Fourth Mission, the Departm...

  • Tester, Colleagues Urge Transparency in VA Disability Claims Process During COVID-19 Outbreak

    (U.S. Senate) - Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester is leading the call for more transparency and accountability as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) suspends in-person compensation and pension (C&P) exams for veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie today, Tester and his committee colleagues pressed the Department to outline its plans for transitioning to virtual C&P exams during the ongoing crisis and issue updated...

  • Tester, Colleagues Urge VA to Prioritize Veterans’ Mental Health Amid Pandemic

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined 23 colleagues today in urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement comprehensive mental health care plans to ensure veterans' well-being during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. "The stress, uncertainty, and isolation associated with the pandemic-all risk factors for suicide in a population where an estimated 17 veterans tragically die by suicide a day-will...

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