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Today, I have signed into law H.R. 8247, the “Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act of 2020” (the “Act”). The Act amends various authorities of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) related to transition assistance from military to civilian life, suicide prevention and care, and improvement in care and services for women veterans.

Two provisions of the Act (section 101(b)(2) and section 202(d)(2)(B)) purport to require the VA Secretary to evaluate whether additional legislative action is needed to implement or expand the programs related to information sharing and mental health education. My Administration will treat these provisions in a manner consistent with Article II, section 3 of the Constitution, which provides the President the discretion to recommend to the Congress only “such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

In addition, Title II of the Act requires VA to establish or expand mental health services for eligible veterans and requires VA to provide or pay for eligible veterans to receive emergency suicide care at a VA facility or a facility outside of the department. The Act, however, does not require the providers who might render such care to veterans to have any relationship with VA. As a result, such providers may eventually try to seek payment from sources other than VA, including the veterans the Act seeks to protect. My Administration will work to ensure that the operation of Title II meets the needs of our veterans. Nevertheless, I call on the Congress to remain vigilant and prepared to act should additional legislation be required to meet any implementation challenges that may arise.


December 5, 2020.