Wyden statement on voting for VA reform package

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore.,today voted for a bipartisan bill that would extend benefits for America’s veterans, with reservations.

The VA MISSION (Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks) Act would consolidate VA’s multiple community care programs into one permanent program. It would also expand VA’s in-home caregiver program for post-9/11 veterans to veterans of all eras and provide more incentives to help VA attract and retain medical providers.

“The bill before the Senate will make some important reforms to the way the VA does business,” Wyden said. “But the ultimate success or failure of this bill will depend on whether Donald Trump and his team at the VA choose to work with Congress and put our veterans first or whether they sell out to the privatization partisans. After Donald Trump signs this bill into law, I will redouble my efforts to work with Senator Tester and others to support and sustain a robust VA worthy of the millions of veterans it serves.”

Wyden secured a provision he introduced with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., last year to streamline the process for routine construction and maintenance at VA facilities, including clinics, by raising the cap on such projects from $10 million to $20 million. Currently, Congress must individually approve VA construction projects that cost more than $10 million, which can result in delays of months or even years.

Read Wyden’s full statement here.