News

Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans’ funding bill

Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans’ funding bill

Senator-elect Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is interviewed in his office in Burlington, Vermont on November 28, 2006. Photo: Reuters/Bryan Snyder

By Peter Cooney

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tentative agreement has been reached by the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House veterans committees on legislation aimed at resolving the Veterans Affairs healthcare crisis, their spokesmen said on Sunday.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who heads the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and his House counterpart, Republican Representative Jeff Miller, will outline the agreement at a news conference at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, their spokesmen said.

“Miller and Sanders continued negotiations on a VA reform package this weekend and made significant progress toward an agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals,” their offices said in a statement.

The VA has been rocked by a scandal over cover-ups of months-long waiting times for medical appointments at its clinics and hospitals across the country. In Phoenix, doctors have alleged that some 40 veterans died as their names languished on secret waiting lists while officials misrepresented wait-time data to meet targets for bonus compensation.

The controversy led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in late May.

With time winding down before Congress begins a five-week recess on Friday, pressure has been building to reach a deal on a measure aimed at eliminating long waiting lists at VA hospitals and clinics.

Negotiations on the measure had broken down last week as Sanders and Miller rolled out competing proposals with a $15 billion gap between them.

The proposal introduced by Sanders on Thursday would provide less than $25 billion in new funds for VA healthcare, with $3.3 billion offset by other savings in the department’s budget.

Miller came back with a plan for $10 billion in emergency funds, with other budget needs to be settled in the fiscal 2015 VA spending bill later this year.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Aeromech Sensible Technology wins Ski to Sea

SkitoSeaLogo

Aeromech's Shawn Mitchell won the XC bike leg, Sean Rice won Kayak and Ivan English/Mike Vincent won the Canoe.

in Sports

LeBron’s triple-double helps Cavs top Hawks in thriller

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James poses at the NBA basketball team's media day Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Independence, Ohio.

James missed his first 10 shots, but finished with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists.

in Local Sports

Yakima United FC 4-0 Bellingham United

soccer ball

The Hoppers have won two matches this season and are now even at 2-2-1

in Sports

Stamkos has goal and assist, Lightning beat Rangers 2-0

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper gestures to his team during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in Tampa, Fla.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Florida

in Sports

AP Source: Adrian Peterson tells coach he won’t be at OTAs

In this Aug. 16, 2014, photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) warms up before a NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Minneapolis.Millions of people using the top three fantasy football platforms have generated three different answers to the question of that top draft pick. Yahoo says LeSean McCoy of Philadelphia. ESPN says Adrian Peterson. CBS Sports says it’s Jamaal Charles of Kansas City.

JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that…