Tentative Deal Reached on VA Reform

The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to improve veterans’ healthcare after they lashed out at each other over their competing bills late last week.

Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, said Sunday they’ll have a news conference Monday to talk about a compromise plan to fix a veterans’ health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

Miller chairs the House veterans panel, while Sanders chairs the Senate panel.

The deal requires a vote by a conference committee of House and Senate negotiators, and votes in the full House and Senate.

Miller and Sanders said in a joint statement that they “made significant progress” over the weekend toward agreement on legislation to reform the Veterans Affairs Department.

Negotiations had appeared in jeopardy Thursday after Miller and Sanders announced their competing plans, then held separate news conferences lashing out at each other. The men resumed talks in private Thursday night.

The plan is intended to “make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.” Miller and Sanders said.