By Sen. Jon Tester
Congress just adjourned for the next 40 some days, leaving some big issues unresolved. I know this is frustrating for many Americans, it’s frustrating for me too because I was elected to work on the issues that matter to Montana, put politics aside and solve problems. But right now that’s not happening very often in Washington.
But thanks to your unwavering support, together we cut through the politics and partisanship and passed a bill that helps our nation’s veterans.
Last week, the President signed my 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill into law delivering certainty to Montana’s active duty service members, reservists, and veterans. As one of two leading Senators who wrote this bill it was my honor to work across the aisle to enact this piece of legislation. This is the first time since 2008 that Congress has funded the VA on time.
I was proud to see folks in both parties come together on a bipartisan bill to provide additional resources to increase veterans’ access to care in their local communities.
Thanks to this legislation, $3.3 billion in additional resources will be allocated to the VA to improve facilities, speed up disability appeals, strengthen telehealth services, increase medical research, and improve the treatment of traumatic brain injuries.
With my bill becoming law, the VA will have the opportunity to increase staff and make improvements across the board to help serve the veterans of our wars old and new. And I’ll be watching to make sure the VA uses these new resources responsibly.
With nearly one million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking care through the VA these expanded resources are critically important to making sure we fulfill the promise we made to the brave men and women who answered the call.
But this bill did not only benefit our veterans, it provides resources and certainty for our active duty troops in Montana and across the globe.
The brave men and women serving at Malmstrom deserve the finest facilities and equipment. That’s why I worked hard to secure $14.6 million for a new missile maintenance facility at Malmstrom and a guarantee that the RED HORSE Squadron will serve Malmstrom and our nation for years to come.
As your Senator I take my responsibilities seriously, but the responsibility we have to our troops and veterans is sacred. I am grateful to everyone who has worn the uniform of our country and proud to deliver for those brave men and women who served and those who still do today.