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Tags: house panel | va reform | legislation | approved

House Panel Approves Robust VA Reform Legislation

House Panel Approves Robust VA Reform Legislation
(Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 May 2018 03:07 PM EDT

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs voted 20-2 on Tuesday to send extensive VA reform legislation to the full House, Stars and Stripes reported.

Key among the reforms in the bill, called the VA Mission Act, is changing eligibility criteria for veterans to access private-sector health care, extending benefits for veteran caregivers and starting a review of VA infrastructure

The vote was the first significant step forward, following more than a year of negotiations, for alterations to the VA Choice program, which was set up to ease services after the 2014 wait-time scandal.

The legislation has the support of the VA, White House and major veterans organizations.

Lawmakers expressed concerns about the uncertain future of the VA leadership after former VA Secretary David Shulkin was fired by President Donald Trump in March and then the president's pick to replace him, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, withdrew his nomination due to controversy over his professional conduct, according to the Military Times.

However, the congressmen said the legislation was too important to wait for the leadership issues to be settled.

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz, the ranking Democrat on the committee, voted against the bill out of concern for funding issues for the VA's private-sector care programs, telling Stars and Stripes that "the VA Mission Act, a policy designed to create a permanent solution for VA community care, lacks a sustainable source of funding to ensure that care is provided and protected in the long term."

However, the legislation is expected to have significant Democratic support in the Senate if it passes out of the full House in the coming weeks, according to the Military Times.

Now that the bill has advanced from the committee, the plan is for a robust legislative package of VA measures to pass through Congress and become law by Memorial Day.

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Politics
The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs voted 20-2 on Tuesday to send extensive VA reform legislation to the full House.
house panel, va reform, legislation, approved
302
2018-07-08
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 03:07 PM
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