OPIOID SERIES:

VA hearing moved as Senate preps action

 

A meeting of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has been delayed in preparation for movement from the full chamber on repairing the department.

Panel Chairman Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHannity snaps back at 'Crybaby' Todd: 'Only conservatives have to disclose relationships?' Chuck Todd lashes out at Fox, defends wife in radio interview Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report MORE (I-Vt.) had been slated to formally introduce a bill that would grant the VA secretary new authority to fire senior executives based on job performance and allow veterans to seek treatment at private doctors’ offices.

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"The hearing was postponed in order to accommodate possible floor action on veterans issues Thursday morning," said Jeff Franks, Sanders' press secretary.

Franks also told The Hill that Sanders was currently meeting with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes MORE (R-Ariz.), who unveiled his own bill to overhaul the VA’s healthcare system. That bill would issue “choice cards” to veterans so that they could seek care at any facility in a 40-mile radius.

Other lawmakers, including Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE (D-N.H.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), have put forward measures designed to tackle mismanagement at the troubled agency.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday said the chamber should pass Sanders’ legislation “as soon as possible.” The White House is reportedly working closely with Sanders on the measure.

There is enormous pressure on Congress to reform the VA following Friday’s resignation of Eric Shinseki, who stepped down after a pair of reports found widespread fraud at VA facilities.