Lawmakers Announce Deal On VA Reform Legislation

By Carrie Jung
Published: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 3:21pm
Updated: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 4:09pm
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
Phoenix VA hospital.

Representative Jeff Miller and Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled the details of a compromise legislation designed to improve the Veterans Affairs health care system. The lawmakers estimate that it will cost about $17 billion to fund.

Of that total, $5 billion will be offset from the VA budget. The remaining $12 billion will be obtained through emergency funding. Sanders said that designation was made because veterans’ needs should be considered a cost of war.

"Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war," he explained. "So is taking care of the men and women who use those weapons and who fight our battles."

The legislation would attempt to make it easier to fire senior VA administrators. It also proposes allocating more than $10 billion to allow veterans who live far from a VA facility and those who experience appointment delays to seek outside care.

Sanders and Miller hope the bill can pass the house and senate before the congressional August recess.

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