As a combat veteran, I have an incredible responsibility to ensure the United States lives up to the promises made to our veterans.
We must make sure that our veterans have the support they need when they return home and transition back to civilian life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can all be proud of.
When I was elected to the Senate in 2014, the first bill I introduced was the Prioritizing Veterans' Access to Mental Health Care Act, which allowed veterans to immediately receive non-Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health treatment if he or she could not receive timely or adequate care at the VA. This effort ultimately became law in 2018 as part of the VA MISSION Act.
I’ve worked with my colleagues to increase access and choice for mental health care services at the VA and at non-VA facilities and continue to ensure the VA is held fully accountable for any care that does not meet proper standards. We cannot turn our backs on those who served our country or accept failures from the department designed to care for them.
Whether at a VA facility in Iowa or anywhere across the country, our veterans should be receiving the best quality care possible. My bipartisan bill, the Ensuring Quality Care for Our Veterans Act, helps to ensure those treating our nation’s veterans are thoroughly vetted and protects our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. I was proud to successfully move this legislation unanimously through committee.
I also know that the brave men and women in our military often face high rates of suicide. That’s why I supported a bipartisan bill that directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to designate one week each year as "Buddy Check Week" for the purpose of outreach and education concerning peer wellness checks for veterans, and for other purposes. I was glad to see this bipartisan legislation pass the Senate unanimously. I’ve also pushed the Pentagon to take immediate action to step up suicide prevention efforts with my Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act.