In a Rare Move, Congress Actually Does Something

In a Rare Move, Congress Actually Does Something July 30, 2014

In what almost seems astonishing, Congress has apparently struck a deal to actually pass legislation to fix a problem. Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative deal on a bill to fix some of the pressing problems in VA health care, including emergency funding.

Just a few days before Congress breaks for a five week recess, lawmakers have finally reached a deal on a legislative package intended to reform a veterans health program that has been plagued with controversy for months. House and Senate negotiators say that the proposed reforms will help eliminate the backlog of veterans who have been forced to wait too long to receive medical care.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) will unveil the legislation at a news conference on Monday afternoon. The Associated Press reports that their plan is expected to “authorize billions in emergency spending to lease 27 new clinics, hire more doctors and nurses and make it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care.” The new legislation will also prohibit metrics related to scheduling and wait times to be used as factors in rating VA employees’ performance. Those policies are in line with several of the recommendations that veterans advocates have been calling for since the scandal first broke this past spring.

The one potential roadblock, as usual: House Republicans, who may balk at the cost of the bill. Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about we cut defense spending by, say, 20% and put that money into veteran’s care? Then how about we stop creating more veterans to care for?

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