On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate passed a bill authorizing billions of dollars of new funding to the beleagured VA. The bill passed with near unanimity—a rare act of bipartisanship that illustrates the depth of Congress' concern with the current scandal. From the AP:
The measure closely resembles a bill approved Tuesday in the House. Lawmakers say they are optimistic a compromise version can soon be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The Senate bill, approved 93-3, would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for the outside care, hire hundreds of doctors and nurses and lease 26 new health facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico.
The bill sailed through the Senate just as the FBI launched a criminal investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs for malfeasance. The House has also voted to end all bonuses for VA workers, though it's unclear whether that measure will make it into the version of the bill sent to President Obama.