Lawmakers Strike Deal to Overhaul VA

Announcement today comes ahead of recess
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 28, 2014 7:14 AM CDT
In this July 24, 2014 file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Congressional negotiators have hit on a deal to address the serious issues reportedly plaguing Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. The agreement in negotiations led by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Rep. Jeff Miller comes in the wake of disagreements over dueling Senate and House plans, the Washington Post notes. The new deal, set for announcement today, would allow vets dealing with long wait times or lacking nearby VA facilities to see private doctors on the government's dime, the New York Times reports.

The plan sets aside $5 billion to hire new workers and calls on the VA to take on 27 new hospital leases, the Post notes. It also sets up counseling opportunities for veterans recovering from sexual trauma in the military. The agreement squeaks in ahead of a congressional recess that begins this week; lawmakers faced a push to settle on a deal before the break, the Times notes. The deal must be backed by a committee and the full Congress, as well as President Obama, before it's official.

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