Congress calls on VA to address suicide crisis

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:53 AM PT — Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Congress is calling on Veterans Affairs officials to explain what’s being done to address a suicide crisis as a fourth veteran has taken his life this month. The incident happened Monday, just hours before a Capitol Hill hearing on how to fix the issue.

Ahead of that hearing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it an “uncomfortable” and “urgent crisis.” She promised to work closely with Republican leaders on finding answers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks, with House Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe, R-Tenn., at right, during a news conference about veteran suicide prevention, Monday April 29, 2019, at the House Triangle on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House lawmakers in that meeting said they are optimistic they can advance bipartisan legislation to include more research and monitoring within VA facilities.

One VA official pointed to excessive time spent on the front-line as a major issue:

“The medical core gets every bad thing that happens in the war-place. It was a flow of casualties every single day. You cannot underestimate the fact that the human mind and the human body must decompress from that. And when you go out for 15-months and then you go home for a year and you go out again, is an operational pace with an all volunteer force that is unsustainable.”

— Richard A. Stone, executive in charge – Veterans Health Administration

Both parties in the House have pledge to try and fix the problem in coming months by launching a series of hearings and legislative pushes to address the problem of veterans suicide.

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