The House on Tuesday passed legislation to help prevent suicides of people who served in the military.

Passed by voice vote, the bill would require a third party to conduct an annual evaluation of suicide prevention programs at the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) and Defense Department.


The bill is named after a Marine veteran named Clay Hunt who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He committed suicide in March 2011 at the age of 28 after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rep. Tim WalzTim WalzPentagon sending medical teams to Minnesota hospitals amid surge in COVID-19 cases Minneapolis votes down measure replacing police department Minnesota Gov. Walz launches reelection bid MORE (D-Minn.) urged for reforms to the mental health system offered to veterans.

"We can't afford to lose people like Clay Hunt," Walz said.

Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) said the U.S. had fallen short in helping veterans who served the country.

"In many ways, we as a nation have failed to defend and protect them," Jolly said. "Administratively, we must do more."

Another provision of the measure would create a three-year pilot program to pay psychiatrists' education loans if they work at the VA for a minimum of two years.

The VA would also be authorized to work with nonprofits specializing in mental health.

Veterans advocacy organizations, including The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), urged for passage of the bill.

"Providing mental health care for our veterans should not be a political fight," IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff said in a statement. "As it goes to the House floor, we urge every representative to sign on as a co-sponsor and show that they have veterans’ backs."

- Martin Matishak contributed.