Chairman Moran, Ranking Member Tester Applaud Passage of CARE for Reservist Act in NDAA

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – chairman and ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – applauded the passage of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included their bipartisan Care And Readiness Enhancement (CARE) for Reservists Act.

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 CARE for Reservists Act will improve Guardsmen and Reservists’ access to consistent mental health services by allowing the Department of Defense to fund needed behavioral or mental health care regardless of deployment status. It also allows members of the Guard and Reserve to access Vet Centers for mental health screening and counseling, employment assessments, education training and other services to help them return to civilian life.

“We have a duty to care for the men and women who bravely serve our nation, including granting them access to mental health care,” said Chairman Moran. “Providing servicemembers and veterans with better access to mental health resources has been one of my top priorities as chairman, and I am pleased this legislation to allow National Guardsmen and Reservists access to readjustment counseling at VA Medical Centers and through VA mental health services was included in the NDAA.”

“I’m thrilled that our bipartisan bill cleared a major hurdle today, bringing us one step closer to delivering consistent mental health care to Guardsmen and Reservists,” said Ranking Member Tester. “The CARE for Reservists Act will go far in treating unseen wounds of war by expanding mental health options for members of the Guard and Reserves—particularly those in rural areas with limited access to care—and providing critical services to those returning to civilian life. It’s my hope that the president quickly signs our bill into law, so that we may follow through on our promise to connect every man and woman in uniform with the life-saving care they’ve earned.”

The CARE For Reservists Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

# # #