Committee Introduces Bill to Review VA’s Assets
On Friday, members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, led by Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), introduced two bills to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The first bill would streamline VA’s community care accounts into one veteran-centric program that replaces the Choice Program, removing the current 30-day, 40-mile requirement to give veterans more timely access to community care. This bipartisan legislation has been cosponsored by every member of the committee, and you can read the press release here.
The second would enact one of the eighteen recommendations made by the bipartisan Commission on Care: creating an unbiased, non-partisan panel to examine Veterans Health Administration assets. This will allow VA to strategically align assets with current veteran demographics and needs, ensuring resources are devoted to areas where veterans are underserved. The bill also includes $2.1 billion to fund Choice as VA transitions to the new community care program and $500 million for non-routine in-house maintenance. Both pieces of legislation pave the way for greater and smarter investments in VA to ensure veterans are served by the department for generations to come.
Committee members released the following statements:
“The bills introduced on Friday will give the Department of Veterans Affairs the tools and resources needed to serve veterans for generations to come,” said Chairman Roe. “I thank the Veterans Service Organizations who provided critical feedback
“Outdated and underutilized assets detract from the VA’s ability to deliver the care our nation’s Veterans have earned," said Bergman. "The VA AIR Act is a much needed component in helping the VA prioritize its infrastructure needs so it can focus on its core mission – providing essential services and care for our Veterans.”
Read the bill at veterans.house.gov/assetreview.
Original co-sponsors of the asset review bill are: Reps. Arrington (R-Texas), Banks (R-Ind.); Bergman (R-Mich.), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee; Bost (R-Ill.), Chairman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee; Coffman (R-Colo.); Dunn (R-Fla.), Higgins (R-La.); Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico); Poliquin (R-Maine); Radewagen (R-American Samoa); Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Chairman of the Health Subcommittee.
NOTE: On Monday, October 30, Chairman Roe sent a letter to Veterans Service Organizations highlighting the changes made to incorporate their feedback into the asset review legislation. That letter is here.