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Currently showing results in the 116th Congress.

  • On Senate Floor, Tester Hails Passage of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester today took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to hail the passage of his bipartisan Blue Water Navy Veterans Act. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Tester worked alongside Chairman Johnny Isakson of Georgia to ensure that Vietnam Veterans living with the effects of exposure to Agent Orange receive the VA benefits and care they have earned. "This victory is for the folks that were exposed to Agent Orange- which has caused real pr...

  • BREAKING: Tester’s Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Heads to President’s Desk

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester's bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act unanimously passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to the President's desk for signature. For years, Tester has fought tirelessly in Congress to make sure Vietnam Veterans get the treatment and benefits they have earned. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act changes current law to guarantee that veterans who served off the shores of Vietnam and were exposed to toxins such as Agent Orange, can access treat...

  • Tester, Kaine, Boozman Introduce Bill to Build on Efforts to Reduce Military Spouse Unemployment

    Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Armed Services Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, reintroduced the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2019 to build on efforts to reduce military spouse unemployment and improve access to affordable childcare. The legislation introduced by Senators Kaine, John Boozman (R-AR), and Jon Tester (D-MT) would change the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses and make it easier for military famili...

  • On Day of VA MISSION Act Rollout, Tester Visits VA Montana

    (Fort Harrison, Mont.) - On the day of the highly anticipated rollout of the VA MISSION Act, U.S. Senator Jon Tester met with national VA leadership at Fort Harrison VA Medical Center, to ensure that VA is doing its part in properly implementing this landmark bipartisan legislation for veterans in Montana and across the country. "Over the last few years, we worked across the aisle to pass into law a series of transformative reforms that will be the biggest change in VA healthcare in a generatio...

  • Tester Votes to Advance VA Deputy Secretary Nominee

    (U.S. Senate) - Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Jon Tester today voted to advance James Byrne, President Trump's nominee to be VA Deputy Secretary, for consideration by the full Senate. "Our veterans deserve VA leadership that is fully committed to serving them and their families," Ranking Member Tester said. "Mr. Byrne's service has demonstrated his ability to serve as second-in-command at VA, and I trust that he would honor the Department's important mission and its ...

  • Tester, Blackburn, Klobuchar Leading Effort for Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals

    (U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are leading the effort to ensure that servicemembers and veterans exposed to Occupational Environmental Health (OEH) hazards in the line of duty get the necessary medical care and benefits they need. The Senators today introduced the Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act, bipartisan legislation that requires the Department of Defense to track active duty military p...

  • Tester’s Bipartisan Veterans Priorities Gain Momentum

    (U.S. Senate) - The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee yesterday debated six bipartisan bills authored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Committee's Ranking Member. Among the bills were legislation aimed at improving mental health care and preventing veteran suicide, boosting health care resources for women veterans, and ensuring Guard and Reservists can access mental health care. During the hearing, Tester highlighted the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, b...

  • Senate Passes Tester Bill to Eliminate Tax on Gold Star Families as Senator Continues Work to Fix Widow’s Tax

    (U.S. Senate) - The Senate today unanimously passed legislation from U.S. Senator Jon Tester to eliminate the tax burden placed on Gold Star children and their families by President Trump's disastrous tax bill. The bill's passage comes on the same day Tester joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to call for passage of the Military Widow's Tax Elimination Act, a push to help the more than 65,000 military widows and widowers nationwide receive the full survivor benefits they are due. The Milit...

  • At Confirmation Hearing for VA’s #2 Official, Tester Urges Increased Transparency at VA

    (U.S. Senate) - At today's confirmation hearing for the VA's Deputy Secretary nominee, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Jon Tester called for the VA to act in a more transparent and collaborative manner. Tester encouraged James M. Byrne, currently the Acting Deputy Secretary and former general counsel, to address the Department's lack of transparency and reluctance to work collaboratively with related agencies and those tasked with independent oversight. Tester also calle...

  • 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...

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