Washington, DC—DemocraticSenators Daniel Akaka, Jon Tester and Mark Begich held a press conference today to discuss legislation to improve health care services to America’s veterans. A single Republican Senator is obstructing efforts to pass the bipartisan Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009. Among other things, the legislation will provide benefits to caregivers of severely injured veterans, expand health care services to women, improve mental care treatment, provide outreach to homeless veterans and enhance VA medical services.
“The Caregiver and Veterans Health Services Act is being held up by a single Senator who argues that it is too expensive. I argue that veterans services are a cost of war. Congress voted to send our troops to battle, and now we must pay for the care and benefits they’ve earned,” Akaka said. “This Senator is blocking a bill that would provide the family caregivers of injured veterans with counseling, support, a living stipend and health care. This senator is also blocking benefits specifically for women veterans, for VA’s health care personnel, and for veterans living in rural areas. Let’s agree to debate the legislation for the sake of our injured veterans and their families.”
Tester said: “It’s our patriotic duty as Americans to make sure our country keeps our promises to our veterans, whether they live in big cities or rural communities. I thank Chairman Akaka for his leadership, and I urge all Senators to put aside DC politics and do right by veterans in Montana and across this country.”
“There is no excuse for not supporting our veterans and their caregivers. There is no price too high to take care of our veterans,” Begich said. “They have earned better than what they are receiving right now, and this bill gives us an opportunity to provide for our veterans and to honor their sacrifices.”