Lawmakers Announce Bipartisan Deal to Reform Veterans’ Medical Care

Senate lawmakers announced a bipartisan agreement on reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the bill could face opposition from Republican lawmakers who want to amend it.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced the deal on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.

The bill would provide veterans “choice cards” to allow them to obtain private medical care if they face long wait times at VA hospitals. It would also give the VA secretary expanded power to quickly fire or transfer poorly performing senior executives.

The bill appears to be a hybrid of a GOP bill announced earlier this week and legislation unveiled Sunday by Sanders.

The GOP bill, authored by Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina, called for the privatized care and firing power for the VA secretary. Sanders’ legislation included expanded services for veterans and some of those provisions were included in the compromise bill.