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U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki vowed in July to do what he could to accelerate the planned expansion of the Billings VA clinic, currently scheduled to be completed in 2014…

During his visit, Tester made an unabashed push for the second phase of the clinic and said Shinseki’s visit was “critically important” to see first-hand the need for the expansion and additional services.

VA Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki told U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester Wednesday of the selection of the Veterans Benefit Administration regional office at the fort along with sites in Wichita, Kans., and Milwaukee, Wis., to take part in the VA’s “Transformational Plan” to reduce the backlog of disability claims.

Tester said Thursday it could mean seven new jobs at Fort Harrison.

Seven months after the nation’s top veteran pledged to support making the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel a National Veterans Cemetery, the special designation is closer than ever.

President Barack Obama’s current budget proposal allows the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration to buy land from rural cemeteries in eight states, including Montana. Under the initiative, the newly purchased land would receive National Cemetery status. The VA would operate and maintain the property at an estimated $80,000 annually. The government would also incur capital equipment costs.