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 Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary 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 McCain2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Defending their honor as we hear their testimony 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 ShaheenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring 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.