Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said a bipartisan deal to help U.S. veterans should be the House’s top priority instead of impeaching President Obama later this week.
“We shouldn’t be off on those tracks of impeachment and suing the president,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “It is truly a good day for the American veterans.”
On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) announced that they had reached a $17 billion deal to reform the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).
Their bill would allow some veterans to seek private care at hospitals and clinics outside the VA, hires more doctors, nurses and medical staff, and builds 27 new VA facilities.
“When I learned that Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Congressman Miller had worked out something on this, I was stunned. I was so happy,” Reid said. “That’s the way we should be legislating. … Miller and Sanders understand that we owe American veterans far too much to leave them behind in their hour of need.”
The legislation became necessary after reports that veterans had died while waiting for care despite a maximum 14-day waiting period set by the VA. VA officials covered up instances in which veterans waited for months before receiving care.
Both chambers are expected to pass the conference report before leaving for the August recess at the end of the week.