Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairmen Reach Deal: Report

  • Bernie Sanders_VA
    Bernie Sanders is interviewed by a Reuters reporter at Sanders' office in Burlington, Vermont on Nov. 28, 2006. Reuters/Brian Snyder
  • Bernie Sanders
    Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Reuters
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House and Senate negotiators have reached a temporary agreement regarding the long-term needs of the struggling Department of Veterans Affairs, the Washington Post reported Sunday. Their proposal is set to be revealed Monday during a press conference.

“Significant progress” was made over the weekend after Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who lead the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs committees, negotiated provisions for hiring more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

The final agreement is close to the Senate version approved last month, said a House aide not authorized to speak publicly about the talks. A final cost, however, has not yet been revealed. The price has been a contentious subject for House Republicans who were concerned about increasing costs for government-run programs, the Post reported. 

Republicans also want veterans to be able to see private doctors if the VA facility is far away or if wait times are too long, CBS News reported. Democrats want the same things, but Sanders proposed $25 billion should be distributed over three years. The Republican plan would provide $10 billion in funding.

Michael Briggs, a spokesperson for Sanders, said in an email to The Hill the agreement will “deal with both the short-term and long-term needs of the VA."

“Miller and Sanders continued negotiations on a VA reform package this weekend and made significant progress toward an agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health care profession,” the lawmakers’ offices said in a joint statement.

Both sides wanted to come to an agreement before lawmakers left town for the month-long August recess, The Hill added.  

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