WASHINGTON (July 30, 2014) By a 420-5 vote Wednesday, the U.S. House has approved a compromise bill to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Department and improve veterans' health care.
The vote sends the bill to the Senate, where approval is expected by the end of the week.
The $16.3 billion measure is intended to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them and make firing senior executives at the VA easier.
The measure includes $10 billion in emergency spending to help veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff and about $1.3 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country.
"This compromise puts the care of our nation’s veterans first," U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, said.
"Longer term, we need to put the VA on a path to permanent success. We must continue to focus on creating a more agile and accountable VA with a smaller bureaucracy that is more responsive to America’s veterans and a better value to hardworking American taxpayers," he said.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed business executive Robert McDonald to lead the sprawling agency.