McConnell "encouraged" by compromise deal overhauling the V.A.

07/28/2014 05:14 PM

Congress could be very close to passing $17 billion in reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs which U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he hoped could be accomplished quickly.

The proposed legislation which was unveiled on Monday will give the secretary of the V.A. the authority to fire or demote senior officials, and it will offer veterans the ability to seek outside health treatment if V.A. doctors delay more than two-weeks, according to Politico .

The agreement was reached by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, over the weekend — and it is being heralded as a true compromise in a city that’s known for anything but.

In a statement sent to Pure Politics U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he was “very encouraged” by the development and hoped the House and Senate could pass the bill quickly — both chambers break for recess on August 2 and won’t come back until September 7.

“The legislation takes critical steps towards fixing a broken VA system and aims to increase patient choice and introduce some much-needed accountability into the VA system,” McConnell said. “It’s a national priority when veterans are denied care, and I’m pleased that both Democrats and Republicans in Washington were able to reach across the aisle and address what all Americans agree is a matter vital of to our national interests. We certainly owe America’s veterans no less.”

McConnell and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called for V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in May amid mismanagement and long doctor waits at V.A. Hospitals.

When asked for comment on the proposed bill on the office of Veterans Affairs the Grimes campaign pointed to a statement Grimes made on June 11 calling on McConnell to pass student loan legislation and pass a bill dealing with the VA.

“I call on the Senate to pass both the legislation to ease student loan burden as well as the bipartisan bill to address problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kentucky students and veterans deserve a champion who will fight for them in the U.S. Senate – not stand idly by and ignore the needs of real people,” Grimes said at the time.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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