WASHINGTON (WAVY) – Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined WAVY News 10 Today Thursday to talk about the Veterans bill passed by the Senate and what it means for the future of the VA.
The bill tackles several issues involving waiting times at the VA and leadership issues. Kaine said the bill not only gives significant funding for the training of more medical professionals, but also gives funding for additional facilities to make them more convenient for Veterans.
“But probably the core of the provision that’s a different way of doing business, is for two years, we’re going to try this, we’re going to allow veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or who live in an area where the VA waiting times are too long, we’re going to allow them to access private health care providers instead of having to go to the VA for their medical conditions,” Kaine said.
The House passed its own bill earlier in the week, so both the House and Senate will need to come together for a compromise before legislation can head to the president’s desk. Kaine expects that to be done by the end of the summer.
“I was a little bit worried last week, frankly, because in the Senate there were competing bills,” Kaine added. “There was a Democratic bill and a Republican bill – I was a cosponsor of the democratic bill. I went to our leadership and I said it would be a very bad thing for this to be a Democrat versus Republican thing, we all should be solving it together, and I give senators Sanders and McCain a lot of credit. They realized that, they worked together, I was one of the five cosponsors of this compromise legislation and I’m very happy that we’ve set aside some of the normal partisan stuff or even the back and forth between the House and Senate to address this quickly. Veterans will see this passed and signed very promptly.”