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 SandersBernie SandersSanders tangles with Trump’s Education pick over college costs Senators introduce dueling miners bills Overnight Healthcare: CBO projects 18M could lose coverage after ObamaCare repeal 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 McCainOvernight Cybersecurity: Obama commutes Chelsea Manning's sentence | A malware mystery Overnight Defense: Obama commutes Manning's sentence | Boeing sees 'progress' on Air Force One costs | McCain's 0B defense budget McCain: Leak of Trump dossier ‘totally wrong’ 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 Shaheen Jeanne Shaheen5 billion reasons Rex Tillerson is wrong Mattis's views on women in combat takes center stage Tillerson won't rule out Muslim registry 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.