News Releases

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Senate Approves Isakson, Tester Legislation to Continue Critical Veteran Services, Benefits

Bipartisan bill reauthorizes dozens of VA programs, including caregivers, nursing-home care, support for homeless, disabled veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today applauded the Senate passage of bipartisan legislation they introduced to ensure veterans continue to have access to critical programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017 reauthorizes 20 healthcare and programs services at the VA for fiscal year 2018, beginning on Oct. 1, 2017. The legislation ensures that many important programs including veteran homelessness prevention and adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans continue to be available. It also authorizes VA nursing-home care to veterans with service-connected disabilities and funding for assistance and support to veterans’ caregivers.

“I’m pleased my colleagues in the Senate supported this bipartisan bill to help ensure that vital VA services, such as programs to help homeless, disabled, rural and minority veterans, continue into the new fiscal year,” said Isakson. “In addition, this measure will provide nursing-home care to eligible veterans and authorize funding for assistance and support services for caregivers.

“I thank Chairman Roe, Ranking Member Walz and members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for their efforts in reaching this bipartisan agreement,” Isakson continued. “The Senate has now passed seven major pieces of veterans’ legislation in the first nine months of the year, a remarkable achievement and a true testament to our teamwork. By working together, we are truly making progress for our nation’s veterans.”

“These initiatives have been a life saver for so many veterans and we can’t let them fall to the wayside,” said Tester.  “When it comes to basic needs like health care, housing, and child care we must deliver for those who served our nation. This bill delivers on the promises we made to our veterans and their families and is a testament to what Congress can accomplish when we work together.”

The Senate unanimously approved the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017. The measure, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, Sept. 25, now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

This is the seventh piece of legislation passed by the Senate – five of which have already been signed into law – that aim to strengthen veterans’ health care, benefits and protections.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017 represents a bipartisan, bicameral agreement reached with U.S. Representatives Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., Isakson and Tester’s counterparts in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

A full section-by-section summary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017 is available here. 

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress.
Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as more than 750,000 veterans.