Senate Passes Massive VA Funding Bill, Easing Veterans' Plight

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 11 2014 8:01 PM

Senate Passes Massive VA Funding Bill, Easing Veterans' Plight

465783917-military-veteran-and-amputee-lloyd-epps-walks-after
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: U.S. Military veteran and amputee Lloyd Epps walks after doctors serviced his prosthetic leg at the Veterans Administration (VA), hospital on January 29, 2014 in Manhattan, New York City. Epps, who lost his leg to an infection in 2010, wears a hightech custom prosthetic from the VA which powers his gait forward. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

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.
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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.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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