Sanders proposes expanded Veterans Affairs services, $62B to rebuild infrastructure

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president MORE (I-Vt.), one of the top Democratic presidential hopefuls, is proposing a plan to expand Veterans Affairs services and modernize facilities, according to an agenda he released Monday

Sanders pledges to fill 50,000 job vacancies at the VA in his first year in office and ensure that those with military service in every state and territory have access to full health care services. 


The push for expanded health care access includes a plan to “greatly expand access” to mental health and suicide prevention services.

He also proposes investing $62 billion in funding for VA infrastructure to repair and modernize facilities. 

The agenda also includes a plan to pledge to “support VA employees” by enforcing strong whistleblower protection, ending anti-union “attacks” and offering “other incentives that reward high-quality work” such as reasonable staffing ratios and compensation competitive with the private sector. 

He says the plan builds on his work as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2013 to 2015, when he authored a bill with late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEsper faces tough questions on dismissal of aircraft carrier's commander Democratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Ariz.) that authorized 27 new medical facilities and provided $5 billion to hire medical staff for the increasing number of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The campaign on Monday released a “Keeping Our Promise” video along with an agenda touting Sanders's bipartisan record. 

“As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who put their lives on the line to defend us,” Sanders said in a statement. “Just as planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who we sent off to fight the wars.”

Sanders's plan was released a week after fellow leading 2020 progressive candidate Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds MORE (D-Mass.) announced her plan aimed at addressing veteran suicide rates and mental health.

Sanders has been consistently polling near the top of the Democratic field. In a RealClearPolitics average of polls, he is in third place with 17.6 percent of the vote.