veterans affairs

Sanders Says Money Still Stalling VA Conference

Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A congressional fix for the veterans health care crisis remains stalled over the pricetag.  

Sen. Bernard Sanders on the Senate floor and later in a gaggle with reporters Wednesday said that a spat over a request for supplemental Veterans Affairs Department funding is among the disagreements in a House-Senate conference.  

Will Congress Take August Recess Before Relieving VA Health Crisis? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A few weeks ago, it would have been unthinkable that Congress would leave for August recess without sending a VA health care bill to President Barack Obama's desk.  

But Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would not rule out that possibility of gridlock over how to alleviate the crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs as House and Senate conferees continue to talk.  

Rob Nabors Cites 'Corrosive Culture' in VA Scandal

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors found "a corrosive culture" and inadequate resources contributed to the VA health care scandal in a report he delivered to President Barack Obama Friday.  

Nabors and acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan D. Gibson briefed Obama on their latest findings and actions taken to date — including new protections for whistleblowers and $393 million in spending to accelerate care.  

Coburn: 'More Than 1,000 Veterans May Have Died' Thanks to VA Misconduct

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., contends that the Department of Veterans Affairs may be responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 veterans.  

"Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of the VA’s misconduct and the VA has paid out nearly $1 billion to veterans and their families for its medical malpractice," Coburn said in a statement.  

Senators Doubt 'Astronomical' CBO Score for VA Health Bill

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some senators are questioning an 'astronomical' but preliminary Congressional Budget Office score for the Senate-passed emergency veterans health bill — while promising to find ways to pay for it in conference with the House.  

The CBO said the VA bill could cost $50 billion a year in expanded health benefits, but there were questions Thursday about how the CBO came to that figure.  

Veterans Could Get $50 Billion a Year in New Health Care

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is a co-sponsor on the bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation designed to fix problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the amount of new spending in the measure began to clarify.  

And the price tag could be a gut-check when it comes to understanding what it really costs to fulfill sacred obligations to America's veterans. The cost of the measure could be astronomical.  

VA Bill Could Pass Senate by Week's End (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate could move ahead at breakneck pace on bipartisan legislation to address the  scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs — after just as swiftly voting to block a partisan student loan refinancing bill.  

A test vote on the student loan measure championed by Democrats and led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is set for Wednesday, and despite the vocal support of Democrats and an outside public relations push, it is going nowhere fast.  

Sanders Unveils Emergency VA Measure, Could Soon Hit Senate Floor (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernard Sanders on Sunday unveiled his plan for emergency legislation to address the scandal that's enveloped the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

The plan from Sanders, a Vermont Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, includes previously announced provisions for enhanced firing authority for senior personnel, but adds due process provisions not in a House-passed bill. The Senate VA panel will hold a hearing about the measure this coming Thursday, with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., having indicated it could soon reach the Senate floor.  

Boehner: Shinseki's Resignation 'Really Changes Nothing' (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Following the resignation Friday morning of Veterans' Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized President Barack Obama again for not doing more to solve problems surrounding the scheduling system and waiting lists at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.  

"[Shinseki's] resignation, though, does not absolve the president of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans," Boehner said during a Friday afternoon news conference. "Business as usual cannot continue. And until the president outlines a vision and an effective plan for addressing the broad dysfunction at the VA, today's announcement really changes nothing. One personnel change cannot be used as an excuse to paper over a systemic problem."  

Senate Appropriators Plan Funds for DOJ Probe of VA

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate's top appropriators plan to provide resources for the Justice Department to investigate the health scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In a Friday letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., and Vice Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., say that the Senate's Commerce-Justice-Science bill will include resources for such a probe.  

The news from the appropriators came not long after President Barack Obama announced the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.