Minn. Rep. Walz to visit White House for signing of veterans bill

Minnesota congressman Tim Walz will be at the White House on Thursday when President Barack Obama signs a bill aimed at reducing the suicide epidemic among military veterans.

The bill is named for Clay Hunt, a 26-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan veteran from Texas who killed himself in 2011. The bill comes in response to suicides that claim an average of 22 veterans every day.

Walz, who helped pass the bill, says it’s an important step toward improving mental health care in the Veterans Affairs system. He says it won’t immediately fix the problem, but it’s a start.

The Minnesota Democrat spent 24 years in the Army National Guard and is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. He sits on the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.