Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement on the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act by the U.S. Senate:
“For too long, Oregonians and families across the country have been forced to live in constant fear of gun violence terrorizing their communities. There is still much more to be done to make our communities safer and reduce gun violence, but the legislation passed by the Senate yesterday marks a meaningful step forward. I am saddened that it took so many tragedies and needless deaths to reach this milestone. It is critical that this bill is the beginning, not the end, of the essential work to create rational gun safety laws in America.
“I am proud that this legislation includes important measures to improve mental health care in America, particularly for young people. Addressing the mental health crisis is not a solution to gun violence. However, this legislation marked an opportunity to fast track key policies that will help young people struggling with their mental health. Help for states that want to improve the quality and availability of mental health care that kids can get at school. More access to telehealth for children with Medicaid. Better oversight and enforcement of Medicaid’s gold standard mental health benefits for children. More resources for community behavioral health clinics. These steps will help the nation turn a corner towards a future where all Americans, especially kids and teenagers, can get mental health care when they need it.
“The Finance Committee has worked on a bipartisan basis for months to develop these policies, and this accomplishment is a testament to the hard work of many committee members. I look forward to continuing that work as the Finance Committee finishes its work on legislation that will significantly strengthen the quality and availability of mental health care in Medicare and Medicaid.”
A web version of this statement is here.