Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Democratic Senate colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Deborah Sampson Act to support women veterans.
“Women are the fastest growing veteran population, yet they still face unique challenges when transitioning out of the military, accessing medical care from the VA and receiving support services,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The Deborah Sampson Act, named after a trailblazing woman who spent her life fighting for recognition of her service in combat during the Revolutionary War, will help eliminate some of the barriers women veterans still face at the VA. I’m honored to support legislation to provide women veterans with the benefits they deserve after their selfless service to our country.”
“Women veterans must feel comfortable and empowered to turn to the VA for the health care and benefits they earned,” said Senator Tester. “It’s important we ensure the VA is holding up its end of the bargain to our sisters, mothers and daughters. Our bill will help change the culture at the VA to better support women veterans’ service and sacrifice.”
“There are more than 20,000 women veterans in Arkansas. This population continues to increase as more women answer the call to serve in uniform. We must update VA services to support the unique needs of today’s entire veteran community,” said Senator Boozman. “This legislation will improve healthcare, services and benefits that women veterans have earned.”
The Deborah Sampson Act is also sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
The Deborah Sampson Act would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.
The Deborah Sampson Act includes the following provisions:
- Empowers women veterans by expanding group counseling for veterans and their family members and call centers for women veterans.
- Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide.
- Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans.
- Authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans and increases resources for homeless women and their families.
- Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women veterans, expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans in one easily accessible place on the VA website, and requires the VA to report on the availability of prosthetics made for women veterans.
The Deborah Sampson Act is endorsed by veterans across the country, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).