Senate reaches deal on VA bill
June 5th, 2014
04:38 PM ET
7 months ago

Senate reaches deal on VA bill

(CNN) – Bipartisan Senate negotiators struck a deal on Thursday on a far-reaching bill to respond to the health care scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The crisis around veterans on long waiting lists to get medical appointments led to the resignation last week of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The bill would create 26 new VA health facilities in 18 states and allow hiring of new doctors and nurses to care for growing rolls of veterans seeking care from the VA.

It would also let patients who live far away from VA facilities to go to doctors of their choosing and bill the Veterans Affairs Department.

In addition, it would give greater flexibility to the agency's secretary to quickly remove incompetent or dishonest senior executives, something seen as a core issue in the current scandal.

The compromise was reached primarily between Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, and Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican.

It still needs to go to the floor for approval of the full Senate. That could happen as soon as next week, according to aides.

Those aides predicted it probably would be approved because lawmakers are anxious to show their constituents they are responding to the scandal.

"Given the crisis we have right now, this is an important step forward," Sanders said when announcing the agreement on the Senate floor.

"We were able to come together I believe in a way to help to relieve this terrible tragedy that seems to have befallen our nations' veterans," McCain said.

Any bill on this issue must be reconciled with legislation also approved by the House.


Filed under: Senate • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    sifto

    Hodgson, it is the republicans who want change and are outraged..not your party..if anyone will obstruct, it will be democrats and obama..
    ----------------------------–
    Oh, so it is the Democratic majority that are the obstructionists. Is that it? The majority party is obstructing the minority party. That's makes no sense. You folks just never cease to amaze me with these leaks of twisted logic.

    June 6, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. cathy

    Sooooo.............congress gets off its butt and appropriates more money and more power to fire folks to the head honcho. Meanwhile the old head honcho has been sacrificed like a scapegoat to appease the wrath of kneejerk politicos.

    yuk

    June 6, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. Donna

    The BIG mistake being made is putting military or political HACKS in positions at the VA. The top positions need to be filled by qualified HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION PROFESSIONALS. It is clear the entire organization needs a complete going through, purging and re-hiring process. The fact that this could be going on at so many locations says there is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed before adding even more facilities. Gte the ones currently there working like sthey should and build on that.

    June 6, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. TONE

    Donna

    The BIG mistake being made is putting military or political HACKS in positions at the VA. The top positions need to be filled by qualified HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION PROFESSIONALS. It is clear the entire organization needs a complete going through, purging and re-hiring process. The fact that this could be going on at so many locations says there is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed before adding even more facilities. Gte the ones currently there working like sthey should and build on that.

    All of what you mentioned is bull civilians are the problem here trust me i am a veteran i will not blame the general, they do not treat vets right they need employ veterans at the VA, civilians cannot take care of veterans the way their own will take care of them civilians are there for the pay check, and they do not put their best foot forward to help a vets.

    June 6, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. floydhowardjr

    Because Veterans are principled, committed, have proven ability and are fearless they are a threat to liberal progressives and fall under the ideological cleansing policy of the Democrat party. Veterans will be eradicated through neglect by the V.A., subdued by discrimination and vilification or executed in the streets. Veterans, the country we fought for and many died for is plotting our demise! We have to take back our future. The enemy is moving fast to secure their stranglehold on our future. What more can we lose but our lives if we don't wake up!!

    June 6, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. 21st Century Patriot

    It's pretty sad that we're at a point where people think the Republicans are to be praised merely for not trying to stand in the way of something good for a change. This was still a "compromise", meaning Bernie Sanders had to water something down just to get Republicans to do us the favor of not obstructing this time.

    June 6, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. warthog6

    I am 100% service connected disabled, and I don't feel safe in hospitals where my murder only results in someone maybe possibly, and in a minor capacity, be slapped on the wrist at some hypothetical later stage, and only if they're bosses notice or even care, which they probably won't.

    If someone MURDERS me, I want to know they'll pay dearly for it, so they won't risk it.

    Veterans do not deserve to have their unconscious bodies being mangled, murdered, or forgotten about because nobody is willing to apply criminal consequences to federal employees.

    Any politician, VSO, or government agency who stands for an empty jail here is a TRAITOR.

    June 6, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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