WASHINGTON— A $16.3 billion piece of legislation to reform VA is now officially law, after being passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Barack Obama.
The approval of the final bill by both chambers of Congress this week came shortly after the Senate confirmed Robert McDonald as the new VA secretary.
“This bill keeps our commitment to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country,” Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a written statement.
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) called the bill an “honest solution to an urgent problem,” in a written statement.
The bill’s provisions include:
- $10 billion to contract out health care for veterans who cannot get an appointment within 30 days or who live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility.
- $5 billion for the VA to recruit more doctors and other clinicians.
- $1.3 billion for VA to enter into leases at 27 medical facilities.
- Authority given to the secretary to fire senior executives based on poor job performance, while providing a 21-day period for due-process and appeals.