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House Passes Roe's Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Veterans With Timely Access to Quality Care

Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the House passed his legislation, S. 2372, the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (VA MISSION) Act, on a 347-70 vote:

“The men and women who served this country deserve a VA that works for them. Over the last several months, we’ve taken great, bipartisan steps to reform the department, and this legislation is yet another strong step in the right direction. It keeps our promise to give veterans more choice in their health care while building on our strong investment in VA’s internal capacity. Additionally, the legislation includes funding for the Choice Program to ensure veterans have continuity of care during the transition to the new, easier-to-use community care program established under the VA MISSION Act. This bill also paves the way for a non-partisan and comprehensive review of the department’s assets. This review was a recommendation put forward by the bipartisan Commission on Care and will ensure VA has the resources needed to serve our nation’s heroes for years to come. Finally, the bill expands VA’s post-9/11 caregiver program to veterans of all eras, providing equity for all generations of veterans and their caregivers.

“It was a true privilege to honor Senators John McCain and Daniel Akaka and Congressman Sam Johnson by amending the title of this legislation. Each of these men have shown true statesmanship and bipartisanship in their advocacy on behalf of our nation’s veterans, and their stories are examples to all of us. In changing the full title of the VA MISSION Act, we honor Senator Akaka’s memory and the legacies of Senator McCain and Congressman Johnson.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the compromise bill the House passed today, and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support. I’m also grateful to President Trump and his administration for their input and assistance on this important legislation. I’m especially grateful to Senators Isakson and Tester for being invaluable partners throughout this process. Without their hard work, dedication and willingness to work together on a compromise, we would not be here today, on the verge of finally delivering the kind of health care veterans deserve. Finally, I thank our veterans service organization partners for their tireless advocacy. Their input has made this bill better, and I look forward to seeing the Senate send this bill to President Trump’s desk.”

Background: Chairman Roe put forward a manager’s amendment to officially change the full title of the legislation to the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018. The short title will still be the VA MISSION Act.

Read more about the VA MISSION Act here. The VA MISSION Act is supported by more than three dozen leading veterans service organizations and was passed out of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on a 20-2 vote on May 8, 2018. A section-by-section summary of the legislation can be found here. On May 3, 2018, the day Chairman Roe introduced the legislation, President Trump tweeted he would sign the bill, “immediately.”

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