(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements after three bipartisan bills they cosponsored were signed into law, including the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, the Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act and the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act.
The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act is a comprehensive and aggressive approach to connect more veterans with mental health care. The bill will bolster the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) mental health workforce and increase rural or hard-to-reach veterans’ access to VA care, while making sure veterans have access to alternative and local treatment options. The Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act recognizes the extraordinary service of nearly 3,000 U.S. Army Special Forces volunteers whose successful efforts to drive a much larger Japanese force out of Myanmar, then called Burma, in World War II proved critical to Allied success in the theater. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act will designate 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and include the Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support.
“These new laws are important examples of the bipartisan work underway in Congress that doesn’t always make the front page, but is critical for Granite Staters and Americans throughout the country,” said Senator Shaheen. “Through these three pieces of legislation, we will enhance the full scope of medical services – especially mental health care – for our veterans, increase suicide prevention efforts and recognize the heroic actions of World War II service members and veterans who helped secure our victory in the Pacific region. In delivering these bills to the President’s desk, it’s clear what Congress can do when partisan politics are left at the door. I’ll continue to fight for that same bipartisan spirit to find common ground on the pressing issues facing our country today, most importantly, a robust COVID-19 relief bill that is urgently needed for New Hampshire and communities throughout the nation to survive this crisis.”
“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation, which the President has now signed, to help improve mental health care for veterans, recognize WWII heroes, and bolster suicide prevention with a simple three-digit 9-8-8 national suicide hotline,” said Senator Hassan. “I will keep working with members of both parties to find common ground on the biggest challenges facing Granite Staters and all Americans, including working to pass an additional comprehensive COVID-19 relief package.”