NJ Congressional Delegation Stands United
In Support of Veterans
Suicide Prevention Program
House unanimously passes amendment in support of Vets4Warriors program, set to shut down August 15
WASHINGTON, DC (June 10, 2015) – The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Chris Smith (R-NJ-04), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-02), Scott Garrett (R-NJ-05), Albio Sires (D-NJ-08), Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ-03) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2016 in support of the successful Vets4Warriors program. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, spoke on the House floor in strong support of the amendment.
“The Vets4Warriors provides a safe place for veterans to seek help outside of the Defense Department, and we believe removing funding for this program is shortsighted,” stated the bipartisan group of lawmakers. “This move will also result in the layoff of approximately 40 well-trained, talented veterans who have been providing Vets4Warriors support services around the clock. We want the Defense Department to use this funding to fully fund the Vets4Warrior program, ensuring our troops receive the best mental health resources available.”
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced their plans to terminate funding for Vets4Warriors, a Pentagon-funded call center operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in New Jersey that provides troops struggling with depression and other psychological or emotional concerns confidential peer support by veterans. The program is set to shut down on August 15, 2015.
The Vets4Warriors program has provided valuable assistance to reduce these incidents by helping callers create a plan to overcome adversity, manage stress, and build resilience. Since 2010, service members have been able to find confidential assistance from peers who share lived experiences and who can quickly connect and listen in highly effective ways.
The support created by this program has been in high demand—since December 2011, the Vets4Warriors program has had over 130,000 contacts with service members and their families. In just five years, thousands of veterans have received critical care and assistance.
In May, Rep. Pascrell led a group of bipartisan lawmakers in urging DoD Secretary Ashton Carter to reconsider DoD’s decision to shut down the Vets4Warriors program.
Office of U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.