Senators Shaheen and Hassan Secure Key NH Priorities in Bipartisan Veterans Package Signed Into Law

January 06, 2021

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

WASHINGTON – The President signed into law 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.

“Each day, our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect our nation from harm. We have an obligation to use every tool available to assist them when they come home, especially now as we continue to grapple with the tremendous economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis that threatens veterans’ stability and well-being. That is precisely what this legislation will help do,” said Senator Shaheen. “This package of legislation will support efforts to combat homelessness, address unemployment and implement overdue reforms to tear down barriers to care impacting women veterans. I’m very pleased this bill is now law and urge the administration to move swiftly and begin implementation – there is no time to waste to help our veterans.”

“This bipartisan package will strengthen our efforts to get all veterans the quality health care, job opportunities, and services that they deserve and have earned,” said Senator Hassan. “This new law addresses some of the key challenges that I have heard from veterans and veterans advocates in New Hampshire; in particular, it will substantially strengthen care for women veterans through the Deborah Sampson Act that I have long advocated for. I look forward to this law being implemented and I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to support veterans in New Hampshire and across the country.”

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