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Congress passes bill to overhaul Department of Veterans Affairs

Earlier this week, Congress passed a measure which allocates $17 billion to overhaul specific current operations at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Although members of Congress seem to agree on very little these days, the bill passed by a staggering vote of 420-5 in the House and 91-3 in the Senate. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

In recent months we have written extensively about various scandals that are currently plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to the care delay scandal, many veterans are continuing to wait unacceptable lengths of time to have their initial applications and appeals claims for veterans disability benefits processed. It seems that our nation’s veterans now have new reason to hope that the VA system will adequately benefit them in the near future.

Of the $17 billion that has been allocated, $10 billion will be directed towards providing non-VA care to veterans who either live too far from VA facilities to seek care there or who are experiencing unacceptably long wait times for VA care. An additional $5 billion will be directed towards hiring new medical and non-medical staff. New facility leasing costs will receive the remainder of the allocated funds.

Senator Franken recently emphasized in a statement that, “We owe a great deal to the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country, and that's why it's so important that they receive quality care in a timely manner. This bill will go a long way towards making sure that happens."

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Senate Passes $17 Billion Bill to Help Pay for VA Overhauls,” Ben Kesling, July 31, 2014

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