WASHINGTON – Today, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) to strengthen the Solid Start program passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The Solid Start program was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during the previous administration to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty service to check in and help connect them to VA programs and benefits.
During a hearing last week, Senator Hassan spoke about the importance of the bill with VA Secretary Denis McDonough, who shared his support of the bill.
“After our service members make sacrifices to protect our freedoms, we must ensure that they have the support that they need after their active duty service – but if our veterans are not even aware of VA services, then we cannot effectively help them,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan bill will make sure that the VA proactively reaches out to veterans to help support them in their transition to civilian life. This bill is a victory for veterans across the country, and I thank the Granite State veterans who have raised with me the importance of strengthening support for new veterans.”
The bipartisan Solid Start Act of 2021 would codify the Solid Start program that the previous administration started – thus ensuring that the program continues – and make improvements such as providing women veterans with information that is tailored to their specific health care and benefit needs – a priority that women veterans from New Hampshire raised with Senator Hassan during a roundtable last year.
This bill is part of ongoing efforts from Senator Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to strengthen support for veterans. For example, last month, the President signed into law Senator Hassan and colleagues’ historic, bipartisan military toxic exposure bill. The President also signed into law Senator Hassan and colleagues’ Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021 to direct the VA to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than one year left in their service to work in federal health care occupations at the VA.