On December 5, the Veterans COMPACT Act (H.R. 8247), introduced by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), was signed into law. The bill includes several provisions advocated for by APA, such as: allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay for acute suicidal care for veterans no matter where they seek that care, improving VA police training, and creating an education program for family members and caregivers of veterans with mental health conditions.
The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), another bill that directly impacts veterans, servicemembers and their families, has also advanced, passing both the House and Senate. The final version of the annual bill (H.R. 6395) includes many key APA priorities, including:
- Allowing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health professional trainees and post-graduates to provide telehealth care across state lines.
- Protecting the Minerva Research Initiative by authorizing $17 million for the project.
- Addressing suicide among farmers and ranchers by including the Seeding Rural Resiliency Act (PDF, 102KB).
- Improving tracking and training requirements for diversity and inclusion as well as stronger mechanism for tracking supremacist activity.
- Expanding paid parental leave for VA employees inadvertently left out of last year’s NDAA.
- Requiring additional focus on ethical considerations of artificial intelligence research.
- Expanding access to mental health treatment at vet centers for members of the National Guard and Reserve.
The NDAA passed the House on December 8 and passed the Senate on December 11. The bill has yet to be signed by the president.
For more information, please contact Sophie Friedl.