Conference committee approves $17B VA health bill
WASHINGTON - House and Senate negotiators have approved a compromise bill to spend about $17 billion to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Agreement by the 28-member conference committee was needed to move the bill to the full House and Senate. The bill is intended to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them, and make it easier to fire executives at the VA.
The measure includes $10 billion in emergency spending to help veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care. It includes $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country.
Lawmakers hope to send the bill to the president later this week.