Roe Statement on VA MISSION Act
Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump signed his legislation, the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or VA MISSION Act, into law:
“Today is a great day. For the last year and a half, I’ve been working tirelessly with the president, members of the Trump administration and my colleagues in the House and Senate to move bipartisan reforms through Congress that will deliver on the promises we’ve made to our nation’s heroes. Together, we’ve been able to modernize the appeals process, bring true accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs and give student veterans the largest expansion of GI Bill benefits since the GI Bill was created.
“Today, we’re delivering again on those promises by moving toward a veteran-centric health care system that marries the best of VA with the best of the private sector so veterans can finally have timely access to the quality care they have earned. Moving the VA MISSION Act wasn’t easy, but because of the commitment of Senators Isakson and Tester, our veterans service organization partners and leadership in the House and Senate we are able to answer the president’s call to give veterans more options for health care. As we celebrate this historic win for veterans, we are reminded of the work ahead. Implementing these major reforms will require vigorous oversight to ensure VA has the tools it needs to continue working to change the way the department cares for the men and women who have borne the battle.
“The VA MISSION Act is a transformational piece of legislation, and it was my great privilege to name this measure in honor of three American patriots who have never wavered in their commitment to serve veterans: Senators Akaka and McCain and Congressman Johnson. Again, I thank President Trump, the members of his administration past and present who have worked on the VA MISSION Act including former Secretary Shulkin and former Acting Secretary Wilkie, Senators Isakson and Tester, veterans service organizations and leadership in the House and Senate. I’d also like to thank my ranking member, Rep. Tim Walz. While we were unable to come to a final agreement on this measure, Ranking Member Walz provided valuable feedback throughout the legislative process, and I appreciate his friendship.”
BACKGROUND: The VA MISSION Act includes three pieces of legislation that have been considered by either the House or Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. The bill would streamline the department’s duplicative community care programs into one cohesive program; create a non-partisan process for reviewing VA’s assets to ensure veterans can access the care they have earned and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to all eras. These reforms are supported by major Veterans Service Organizations. The bill also includes funding for the Choice Program that is expected to last until the new program authorized under the VA MISSION Act is implemented. Additionally, the bill contains a number of provisions that would strengthen VA's internal capacity to provide timely, quality care to veteran patients within VA medical facilities by improving and expanding VA's ability to train, recruit and retain the very best providers. You can find a section-by-section summary of the VA MISSION Act here.