06.09.14

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Bipartisan Compromise to Bring Accountability to the VA

Bill Would Boost VA Accountability, Streamline Hiring Process and Shorten Wait Times for Medical Care

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced her support for a bipartisan bill to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs and to expand access to veterans’ health care. The bill, put together by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to be voted on in the Senate this week.

“This bipartisan legislation includes solutions to improve the delivery of veterans’ health care. Our veterans have served our country with honor and we owe it to them to keep our promise to provide the benefits they’ve earned,” said Baldwin.

The Sanders-McCain legislation would allow the VA to quickly remove and replace officials found to have been involved in any mishandling of veteran medical care or exhibiting poor job performance, allow veterans to see private doctors outside of the VA system if they experience long wait times or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, construct 26 new VA medical facilities in 18 states, hire additional doctors and nurses to cut down on wait times, and update the VA’s scheduling system to improve access to health services.

In addition, the bipartisan compromise also provides in-state tuition for all veterans at public colleges and universities, Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition eligibility for surviving spouses of troops killed in the line of duty, and improved access to health care for military sexual assault victims.

Senator Baldwin is also a supporter of a broader bill that has received bipartisan support, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. That bill goes further than the bipartisan compromise bill being voted on this week regarding the expansion of veterans’ benefits, including dental and other medical benefits, the renewal of our VOW to Hire Heroes Act, and the provision of caregiver benefits to veterans of all generations.