Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester will be the new chairman of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee in the 117th Congress. The Democrat has been on the committee since his first year in Congress in 2007. Taking on the position of Ranking Member of the committee will be Republican Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Wednesday, Sen. Tester will wield the gavel in a hearing on President Biden's nomination of Denis R. McDonough to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). Tester has been an advocate of veterans issues such as more benefits and care for those exposed to Agent Orange, along with improvements in mental health care and other veterans benefits improvements.

In a news release, Tester said, "I'm grateful for the chance to lead the committee on behalf of Montana's veterans and all who've served our nation proudly. I'm looking forward to continuing the bipartisan partnership Senator Moran and I have built and am ready to roll up my sleeves along with our committee members and veterans advocates to hold the VA accountable, cut red tape, and provide quality care and benefits to those who've sacrificed on behalf of our freedoms. Taking care of our veterans is a continuing cost of war, and I'm prepared to get to work in this new role to ensure Congress follows through on this sacred duty."

Praising the new chairmanship were leaders of many veterans organizations, including Gary White of the Montana American Legion and Legion National Commander James W. Bill Oxford, Disabled American Veterans National Commander Stephen Butch Whitehead, Montana National VFW Representative Tom Johnson, Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan and others.

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