Tenney secures critical language for veterans crisis line in 2018 proposed budget

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Veterans Crisis Line Serves our At-Risk Veterans

Today, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) announced that the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee has included language in its proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget that will ensure every veteran receives immediate assistance from the Veterans Crisis Line.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a vital resource that provides around the clock crisis intervention services to veterans across the country. Earlier this year, Tenney called for the continuation of funding for the Veterans Crisis Line and for much-needed reforms to improve its effectiveness.

“I am pleased that the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee recognizes the importance of the Veterans Crisis Line, a critical resource for our at-risk veterans.

Tragically, nearly 22 veterans commit suicide each day. As public servants, it is our obligation to ensure that our veterans have access to the resources they need when they return home from selflessly serving our nation. Including language in the proposed budget to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs addresses the health needs of all veterans in accordance with established medical standards is critical. As the mother of an active duty US Marine, it is an honor to do my part and join the fight to decrease the alarming number of veteran suicides,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

The language included in the proposed bill requires that the Department of Veterans Affairs “provides to individuals who contact the [Veterans Crisis] hotline immediate assistance from a trained professional,” establishing a clear statutory requirement for the agency to field all calls it receives. A report recently released by the VA’s Office of Inspector General found ongoing issues with the crisis line, including that the crisis line has not responded adequately to veterans’ calls.

Earlier this year, Rep. Tenney authored a letter calling on the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate ongoing problems with the Veterans Crisis Line after this startling report. In a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the VA, Tenney requested that the VA provide information on changes being made to the Veterans Crisis Line to ensure deficiencies in the program are overcome efficiently. Next week, Rep. Tenney will testify in front of the Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss ways to improve the Veterans Crisis Line’s effectiveness.

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