Hoeven: Senate Confirms James Byrne as VA Deputy Secretary

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today released the following statement after the Senate confirmed James Byrne as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Secretary. 

“We welcome James Byrne to his new role at the VA, with appreciation for his continued commitment to our nation’s veterans and recognition for his years of service, both as a Marine and as a federal official,” said Hoeven. “I look forward to working with him as we seek to further enhance the health care and benefits available to our veterans, including improving access to local providers, opening up more mental health care options and ensuring more long-term care facilities can accept veteran patients.”

Hoeven has worked throughout his time in the Senate to strengthen health care, benefits and recognition for the nation’s veterans. The senator is working closely with administration officials, including VA Secretary Wilkie, who has committed to Hoeven to visit North Dakota, to continue advancing these priorities, including:

Health Care

  • Expanding mental health care and suicide prevention services for veterans undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
    • Last week, Hoeven announced that the Fargo VA Health Care system has been added to the VA’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) clinical demonstration program, giving veterans in the region access to this alternative treatment option.
  • Improving veterans’ ability to access health care closer to their homes.
  • Enabling more long-term care providers to accept veteran patients.
  • Ensuring veterans’ community care appointments are scheduled promptly.


  • Restoring health benefits coverage for Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam.
  • Protecting veterans’ benefits if they need to file for bankruptcy.
  • Supporting flight training services for veterans who want to become commercial airline pilots.


  • Securing North Dakota’s first VA National Cemetery, which Hoeven helped fund through the National Cemetery Administration’s Rural Initiative.
  • Opening American Legion membership to more than 1,600 veterans who were honorably discharged and served in unrecognized times of war since WWII.
  • Working to ensure that the 74 sailors who lost their lives on the USS Frank E. Evans are honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.