VA Announces Support for Rose Bill to Address Veteran Suicide
Congressman’s bipartisan effort would require VA to provide data, information to Congress in order to address veteran suicides
Washington, April 30, 2019
At a hearing today on veteran suicides and Congressional efforts to address this public health crisis, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) announced support for Congressman Max Rose’s bipartisan legislation that would help address the rising trend of veterans who die by suicide on VA campuses.
“Every veteran struggling with the mental and physical scars of war who die by suicide is another casualty of combat—so we need to put the same attention and resources towards keeping our soldiers safe on the battlefield as we do supporting them when they come home,” said Rose at a bipartisan press conference on veteran suicide yesterday. “And as we were painfully reminded just this month, when three veterans died by suicide on VA campuses in the span of five days, and a fourth just today in Cleveland, Ohio—we all need to do more. The VA, Congress, all of us. So as a vet and a Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I introduced a bill that is a key first step in addressing this crisis—the FIGHT Veterans Suicide Act. This would require the VA to report critical information on attempted or completed suicides on VA campuses directly to Congress.”
At a House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing today on legislation to address veteran suicide, the National Director of Suicide Prevention for the VA, Dr. Keita Franklin, said of Rose’s bipartisan legislation, “This would require the VA to submit notification of veterans suicide deaths or suicide attempts that occur on VA facilities to Congress within seven days of the event. VA supports this legislation.”
Rose’s bipartisan legislation, FIGHT Veterans Suicide Act, is a key effort in response to recent tragedies of veterans dying by suicide on VA campuses. Congress has found that VA is not always forthcoming with timely information around these events. Having key data points which this legislation requires from VA would help Congress fully understand the scope of this crisis to better serve our veterans in need. Within a span of just five days this month, it’s been reported that three veterans died by suicide at VA facilities—and just this week a fourth veteran died by suicide at a Cleveland, Ohio VA facility.
Rose, who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has called on the Department of Defense to change the policy that leads to servicemembers and veterans on Staten Island receiving hundreds of dollars less per month for housing than the other four boroughs. Additionally, Rose passed legislation through the House of Representatives to expand childcare coverage from VA to apply to veterans seeking treatment for addiction and joined a bipartisan meeting with the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs at the White House to discuss priorities and challenges facing VA.