WASHINGTON – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) voted for the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (also known as the Clay Hunt SAV Act). The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 403-0, would set up important procedures to protect our veterans and give them the proper care to prevent suicide. It is expected to be the first bill of the 114th Congress to be signed into law. Senator Fischer released the following statement this afternoon:
“It is an absolute tragedy that so many of our soldiers are losing their lives to suicide – a number that eclipses those lost on the battlefield. Our nation owes these brave men and women the finest care and support for their courage in defense of our nation and this bill is another step forward in keeping that promise.
“The challenges of adjusting back to civilian life take a devastating toll on not only our troops, but their families and loved ones. I’m proud to support this initiative and will continue to work on bold solutions that will provide the best care for our nation’s heroes.”
Late last year, the Clay Hunt SAV Act was agreed to by a voice vote in the House, but no vote was scheduled in the Senate. Today, the bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly and is expected to be signed into law by the president. The Clay Hunt SAV Act would require an annual independent evaluation of the VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention be submitted to Congress annually, starting in 2018. It would set up a loan-repayment pilot program for psychiatrists to enhance recruitment. Additionally, the bill would create a pilot program with community-oriented peer support programs for veterans transitioning to civilian life.
Senator Fischer also released the following photo and caption after visiting the Nebraska VA Medical Facility in Omaha on Friday afternoon. While there, she visited with managers and staff about current facility conditions and projected improvements.
For a high-resolution version of the photo, please click here.