Amendment preserving Vets4Warriors passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment co-sponsored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) on Tuesday  that would reinstate critical funding for Vets4Warriors, a suicide prevention hotline program that has proven successful for veterans in New Jersey.

Recently, the Pentagon announced it planned to terminate funding for the Vets4Warriors program, which is operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care with a call center in Piscataway, New Jersey that employs 40 counselors. The amendment, written by Rep. Bill Pascrell (R-NJ), has been included as part of the Pentagon’s annual appropriations bill currently under debate on the floor of the U.S. House.

“The Vets4Warriors program has saved lives in New Jersey,” Lance said during a speech on the House floor before the passing vote. “It has made a great difference during very challenging times for some of our servicemen and women. Their peers offer support and a friendly ear at a time when it matters most. Their voices of encouragement, friendship and support on the other end of the telephone remind our brave heroes of their great potential, the love of a grateful nation and what they can accomplish in their lives.”

Through Vets4Warriors, troubled service members have been able to receive confidential counseling and care from peers, many of whom have similar experiences and can relate, connect, listen and advise with effective methods. The program has recorded more than 130,000 contacts with service members and their families over five years.

“I have seen first-hand that veterans in New Jersey need the Vets4Warriors program,” veterans advocate Lloyd Deans of Bridgewater, New Jersey, said. “I know people personally who have used these critical services to the betterment of their lives. We need Vets4Warriors. I want to thank …  the entire New Jersey congressional delegation for supporting this important veteran suicide prevention program.”