• Senate Passes VA Reform Bill
  • June 17, 2014
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation aimed at responding to the healthcare crisis at the Veterans Affairs Department. The legislation passed by a margin of 93 to 3.

    The legislation, crafted by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), would make it easier to fire incompetent senior leaders, reprimand those who falsified healthcare wait-time records, hire additional VA doctors and nurses, and open additional medical facilities. The legislation would allow veterans who are more than 40 miles from a VA healthcare facility to seek private care.

    The Senate agreed to waive budget pass-as-you-go rules, 75 to 19, to pave the way for a provision in the bill to use what sums of money are necessary in fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2016 to carry out the reforms.

    The House has passed similar legislation, but the two chambers need to work out minor differences in committee to send a bill to the president's desk.

    The Senate bill includes a provision to provide additional funding for doctors that is not in the House legislation. The House bill would also allow the VA to fire officials without an appeal, a provision that is not in the Senate bill.

    The two chambers are expected to work out the differences quickly, given the enormous political pressure to respond to the VA scandal. It is expected the chambers will work out their differences before the July 4 recess.