Veterans

Congressional Compromise Actually Attained on VA Health Care

Let's make a deal!

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After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon to unveil a plan expected to authorize billions in emergency spending to lease 27 new clinics, hire more doctors and nurses, and make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care.

An agreement reached Sunday by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was a long time coming. The House and Senate approved bills on veterans health care in early June, and lawmakers from both parties said they expected a final bill by July 4. Instead, negotiators met once in public, then disappeared or held private meetings that produced few results.