July 28, 2021

Veterans Committee Passes Senator Hassan’s Bipartisan Legislation to Support Veterans During Their Transition to Civilian Life

Committee Also Advances a Number of Other Hassan-Backed Priorities to Support Veterans and their Families

WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted unanimously to pass Senator Maggie Hassan’s bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Solid Start program, which was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2019 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.

 

The bipartisan Solid Start Act of 2021 would codify the Solid Start program 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 earlier this year.

 

“The VA offers critical services to help veterans who have left active duty, including job trainings and mental health care, but those services are useless to veterans if they don’t know that they exist,” Senator Hassan said. “Since the Solid Start program began in 2019, we have seen progress made in connecting veterans who just took off the uniform with these important VA services. Our bill would help to strengthen an already effective program and ensure it remains in place for the next generation of veterans. I am pleased that my colleagues joined me in passing this commonsense legislation, and I will keep pushing to get this bill signed into law.”

 

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee also passed a number of other bipartisan bills cosponsored by Senator Hassan to support veterans and their families, including:

 

  • The SERVICE Act, which directs the VA to update its mammography screening policy to cover veterans who served in locations associated with toxic exposure, regardless of age, symptoms, or family history.
    • It also requires a report to Congress on breast cancer incidence among service members and veterans who deployed to locations associated with toxic exposure, compared to civilians.
  • The Improving Outcomes for Veterans Act, which directs the VA to facilitate better communication among VA facilities and staff on best practices for collaborating to serve veterans experiencing homelessness.
  • VA Supply Chain Resiliency Act, which requires the VA to report on types of items it considers critical with respect to COVID-19 and future disasters or pandemics.

 

These bipartisan bills are part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen support for veterans. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan helped to pass into law the SAVE LIVES Act to expand COVID-19 vaccine access to all veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Senator Hassan also helped secure key priorities for Granite State veterans in the bipartisan veterans package that was signed into law earlier this year, including the Deborah Sampson Act, which Senator Hassan joined in introducing to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan also voted to advance historic bipartisan legislation to address the failure to provide sufficient compensation and care for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service.

 

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