Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R), who served in the military for more than 12 years and was wounded in combat, announced legislation that would support veterans in both his district and across the country. He has introduced three bills that will increase access to services, they will enhance efficiency, and they will also tackle mental health concerns that veterans are facing.
With the Improving Veterans Access to Congress Act, the bill “empowers Members of Congress to open satellite offices in VA medical centers, providing veterans more direct access to their Members of Congress and the services they provide.” Previously, Rep. Mast had “opened a first-of-its-kind Congressional office inside a VA facility.” The newly introduced bill “would ensure other Members of Congress are able to do the same.”
The second piece of legislation presented is the Oath of Exit Act, which “would provide a network of support for veterans struggling with mental health and help stop the stigma surrounding mental health issues among veterans.” The legislation creates an “oath of exit” that commits “those separating from service to support their fellow veterans.”
Finally, the Leadership Evaluation at Department of Veterans’ Affairs (LEAD VA) Act, “would establish a pilot program in which active-duty military officers run VA medical centers to improve the level of care received by veterans at those facilities.”
In a statement, Rep. Mast praised the legislations, commenting that “hardly a day goes by when I don’t receive a call from a veteran who needs help navigating the red tape of the VA.” He warned that “it’s clear that our system is not meeting their needs, and when it comes to treating mental health, that can be deadly.” In turn, “we owe it to them to explore creative solutions to ensure that they have the care that they need, which is why I’m introducing these bills.”