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Senators Shaheen and Hassan Secure Key NH Priorities in Bipartisan Package to Support Veterans

Bill Includes the Deborah Sampson Act that Senators Shaheen and Hassan Helped Introduce to Support Women Veterans

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan with a number of key priorities that they advocated for to support Granite State veterans.

The package includes the Deborah Sampson Act that Senators Shaheen and Hassan joined in introducing that would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure that the VA can address the needs of women veterans. Senator Hassan has long advocated for this bill, and previously joined Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and women veterans in Manchester to highlight its importance.

The bipartisan package also includes a bill that Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped introduce to support veterans experiencing homelessness. In addition, the package includes bills Senator Hassan cosponsored to help address the high rate of unemployment among veterans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, support the health of women veterans, better assess possible health conditions linked to service members' exposure to toxic substances in Uzbekistan, and help veterans safely dispose of unwanted medication.

“Our veterans deserve access to every resource necessary to build safe and successful lives when they come home, which is more important today than ever before as our nation experiences the most difficult financial crisis of our lifetime,” said Senator Shaheen. “I appreciate the bipartisan work that went into this package of legislation to bolster our commitment to assist veterans in a myriad of ways, including efforts to combat homelessness, address unemployment and overdue reforms to tear down barriers to care impacting women veterans. I’ll continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to see this legislation through Congress."

“Our country owes it to the men and women who served in uniform to ensure that they have access to high quality health care, job opportunities, and additional support – and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this work even more important,” said Senator Hassan. “The Senate took a major step forward this week in passing a bipartisan package that will strengthen programs for New Hampshire veterans. Importantly, it includes the Deborah Sampson Act, which I have long pushed for, to help ensure that women veterans have equitable access to care and services. I will keep working across the aisle to support veterans and get this critical package signed into law.” 

The bipartisan package includes the following key priorities for New Hampshire veterans that Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped to secure:

  • Senators Shaheen, Hassan, and colleagues’ Deborah Sampson Act, which supports women veterans in a number of ways, including by:
    • Creating a dedicated Office of Women’s Health at the VA, expanding reintegration and readjustment group counseling retreats for women veterans and their family members, and bolstering call center services for women veterans
    • Eliminating barriers to care by staffing every VA health facility with a dedicated women’s health primary care provider, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans
    • Bolstering supportive services by providing access to legal services for women veterans, expanding child care for veterans receiving VA health care, and requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the VA’s efforts to support homeless or at-risk women veterans
    • Improving access to care and benefits for survivors of military sexual trauma by expanding military sexual trauma counseling to former Guard and Reserve members, allowing the VA to treat the physical health conditions of military sexual trauma, and improving the claims process for survivors at the Veterans Benefits Administration
  • Senators Shaheen, Hassan, and colleagues’ Homeless Veterans Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 to give the VA greater flexibility in caring for and meeting the needs of homeless veterans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Reducing High Risk to Veterans and Veteran Services Act, which Senator Shaheen introduced to require the Secretary of the VA to address areas of concern identified in the Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk List regarding VA health care and management
  • The K2 Veterans Advocacy Act of 2020, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to direct the VA to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to assess possible health conditions linked to service members' exposure to toxic substances at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base (K2) in Uzbekistan
  • The Veterans Economic Recovery Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to expand the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses for Training Providers (VET TEC) program to help veterans and service members transition to civilian life
  • Measures from the HEALTH Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to continue a critical training program that helps women veterans transition to civilian life and to cover certain transportation expenses for newborn children of women veterans
  • The VA Directly Returning Opioid Prescriptions (DROP) Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to create safe, anonymous, and continuously available drop off centers for veterans to easily dispose of unwanted medications, including opioids