Thank bipartisan support for helping veterans, or lingering anger over the previous scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but whatever the reason, Congress is managing to get legislation passed addressing veterans' needs.
Concerned Veterans for America, one of the groups most enthusiastic about promoting choice for veterans, is slightly dissatisfied that the $2.1 billion in Choice funding had to be attached to $1.8 billion in funding new leases for VA medical centers, which they would have preferred be considered separately.
"Veterans deserve convenient access to the high-quality health care that they have earned through their service". But no major VA medical facility has been approved since 2012, mostly due to a change in the congressional authorization process, Maine Sens.
'I'm glad we were able to pass this legislation last night to ensure this program can continue serving veterans'.
A priority for Trump, the program allows veterans to receive care from outside doctors if they must wait at least 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility.
When the new Congress convened in January, Warner and Senator Susan Collins of ME reintroduced that bill.
The other piece of legislation approved by the Senate would cut the time it takes for the VA to handle appeals from veterans unhappy with their disability payouts, part of a bid to reduce a rapidly growing claims backlog.
In September of a year ago, he led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Providing Veterans Overdue Care Act to authorize leases for 24 VA medical facilities in 15 states.
In addition, as a member of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins included language last month in the Appropriations Committee's report on the FY18 MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill to improve the delivery of health care to veterans.
VA Secretary David Shulkin is probably breathing a little easier, as he had estimated that the Veterans Choice program would run out of money this week.