WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) introduced to strengthen the Solid Start program, which 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.
“I’ve talked with New Hampshire veterans about the immense challenges that many veterans face when they end their active duty service, and many are not even aware that resources are available from the VA to help with everything from getting mental health care to finding a civilian job,” said Senator Hassan. “Supporting veterans is not a partisan issue, and I am glad to have teamed up with my colleagues across the aisle on this bill to strengthen outreach to veterans. I will continue working to make sure that Granite State veterans receive the support that they need, especially after having sacrificed so much for our freedoms.”
“Making sure the brave servicemen and women have access to the benefits, healthcare, and other resources they earned is a crucial part of my role on the Veterans Affairs Committee. The Solid Start program was created by the Trump Administration to help veterans transition to civilian life. Our bill codifies this successful program to ensure veterans will have access to the support services they need. I applaud the Senate’s unanimous support and urge its final passage,” said Senator Cramer.
“The transition to civilian life is not always easy. Passing this bill through the Senate is one more step towards giving veterans the support they need to ensure they receive the benefits they earned,” Dr. Cassidy said.
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.