Obama Signs Suicide Prevention Bill For Veterans

Amidst partisanship over health care in the U.S., one issue received support from both parties, according to U.S. News and World Report: curbing suicides among American veterans.

The issue was not mentioned in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, but it became clear early this year that both Democrats and Republicans would rally around it.

The Senate voted 99-0 to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on Feb. 3, while the House voted 403-0 in favor of it last month. Obama signed the bill on Thursday.

The bill is named after a Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder following deployments to Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Last December, Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, single-handedly stalled the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act in the Senate, saying that it carries too hefty a price tag and the VA could already handle it.

Veterans groups said the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act , which would require a report on successful veteran suicide prevention programs and allow the VA to pay incentives to hire psychiatrists, is desperately needed.