Tester, Daines praise new military construction, VA bill

Montana’s two U.S. senators are taking credit for legislation included in a new appropriations bill directed at military construction and Veterans Affairs.

This week, both Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines praised the measure, saying it will ensure veterans across the state receive access to timely care and that female veterans have access to gender-specific medical needs.

The bill also maintains missile infrastructure at Malmstrom Air Force Base and ensures the 819th RED HORSE Squadron stays in Montana rather than transferring to Guam.

“This bill helps the VA deliver quality care, strengthens our national security, and does right by the men and women who have worn our uniform,” Tester said.

During consideration of the bill, Tester said the committee unanimously accepted his amendment ensuring that state VA projects don’t fall down the priority list. The measure also allows corpsmen and medics to be hired by the VA and trained as physicians assistants.

Daines said the the bill encourages the VA to expand research into non-invasive therapies for treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress and other neurocognitive disorders. The bill also requires the VA to include a mobile capability to reach veterans in rural areas, he said.

“Montana’s veterans have suffered under the status quo for too long,” Daines said. “We’re beginning to make real progress for Montana’s veterans.”

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill will head to the Senate floor for a final vote.