As proof that bipartisanship in Congress is still possible, a key liberal senator and his Republican counterpart in the House announced an agreement Monday on a $17 billion emergency veterans bill that last week was caught in partisan crossfire.
The bill seeks to address a national care crisis of long waits for treatment, falsified records, and reports of related deaths that led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on May 30.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America expressed support for the agreement, which was announced by the chairmen of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in the Senate and House, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Rep. Jeff Miller, (R) of Florida.
“We’re generally happy with the deal,” said Lauren Augustine, a legislative associate for the veterans group.
The compromise bill, expected to pass out of a conference committee Monday, still must be passed by the Senate and House before it can go to the president for signing. The hope is to get the bill through both chambers before Congress breaks for its long summer recess at the end of this week. Here are answers to some key questions about the bill...