Legion’s advocacy efforts ‘proof that our democracy works’
 Photo by HIlary Ott/The American Legion

Legion’s advocacy efforts ‘proof that our democracy works’

In front of hundreds of American Legion leaders from across the country, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, applauded The American Legion for its efforts in getting the PACT Act signed into law.

“These laws help pay the cost of war. It is an understatement to say that we could have got that done without you,” said Tester at the Commander’s Call on Monday during the Legion’s annual Washington Conference. “When it came to getting the PACT Act signed into law, it was the veterans, it was the VSOs, who put pressure on Washington and Congress to do the right thing for our toxic exposed veterans. I saw it work; I saw it flip votes. And I want to thank you for that work. Your efforts are proof that our democracy works.”

The PACT Act is changing the lives of veterans and their families, a statement Tester can attest to. While on travel to Missoula, Mont., he met a veteran who had six months to live. The veteran told Tester, “’Without the PACT Act, my family would be living in poverty. With the PACT Act, my family is going to be fine.’ This is exactly why we fought like hell to pass the PACT Act.”

“I’m glad the VA has been working around the clock to deliver real results for our veterans who need the support now,” Tester added. “And with you as partners, we will keep holding the VA accountable in rolling out the PACT Act and ensuring the veterans in this room and across the country get the quality of support they have earned.”

Tester’s work toward honoring America’s servicemembers and veterans continues with two pieces of Legion-backed legislation – the Major Richard Star Act and the GUARD Act.

The Major Richard Star Act would ensure full retired pay for medically retired combat veterans, regardless of the amount of any VA disability check. And the GUARD Act would reinstate criminal penalties for unaccredited claim representatives who charge unauthorized fees while assisting veterans with filing a VA disability claim.

“We need to give the VA all its tools to stop these crooks from stealing benefits from our veterans,” Tester said.

Tester thanked The American Legion for its partnership and efforts to do “what’s right for our nation’s heroes. I learned from a young age that America’s veterans are the fabric that make our nation the greatest country that’s ever existed in the world,” said Tester, the 2019 American Legion Distinguished Public Service award recipient. “I want to thank you again for your partnership and the great that you do, The American Legion does, for our veterans and their families. Together, we are going to continue to do right by America’s veterans and their families.”