Opinion

Mark Rogers: Money alone won't fix problems at Veterans Affairs






Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Florida) announce $17 billion proposal to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo from Sen. Sanders

Mark Rogers welcomes $17 billion plan to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs:
The proposed bipartisan deal to allocate $17 billion to the VA to address patient access is a good start. I have to acknowledge the work of Senator Sanders and Representative Miller to bring a solution from a severely divided Congress. The fact that this proposal is being tabled is a minor miracle. During the press briefing, they both made this point clear with Senator Sanders going as far as saying that this Congress is dysfunctional. I wish them much luck as they seek to gather votes to pass this legislation. The price tag is a sticking point with the GOP and Rep. Miller will have to use the power of salesmanship to get the votes needed to pass it.

This was a tough sell to a Congress that has fulfilled VA funding requests for years to find an agency in complete disarray. The fact is, the VA has never been properly funded because the agency has never been truthful. I think the Senate and House committees have come to that conclusion after having to resort to subpoenas to get information from the agency. Approving Robert Mcdonald's nomination and increasing Congressional oversight should give Congress the confidence needed to pass the bill and assure that funds are properly allocated by the VA.

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