Washington, DC (KELO AM) - This afternoon the US Senate overwhelmingly passed a version of the VA reform bill 93-3 with 4 Senators not voting. Both South Dakota Senators Johnson and Thune were voted for the measure, with the three no votes all coming from the Republican side.
Shortly after the bill passed Senator Johnson released the following statement: “This compromise legislation by Senators Sanders and McCain is a good first step to help fix the widespread problems at the VA. It provides the VA with additional tools to improve care and expands options for access outside the VA system. As the VA’s own audit this week showed, the VA faces significant challenges in providing access to care in a timely manner. Our veterans deserve better, and I’m glad the Senate came together in a bipartisan manner to quickly address this issue.”
The bill would create 26 new VA medical centers, sets aside nearly a half-billion dollars for the hiring of new physicians and specialists, and would allow veterans waiting for care to get it from private physicians with the VA covering those costs.
Up next the bill will need to be ratified with a similar version that passed the house this week, also overwhelmingly.