News

Obama to sign $16.3B veterans spending bill

Obama to sign $16.3B veterans spending bill

VETERANS AFFAIRS: Attendees pray during the invocation at the opening of the National Order of the Purple Heart National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 5. U.S. Veterans Administration Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson says more employees will be disciplined as the department sorts out a scandal over long waits for health care and falsified data. Photo: Associated Press/Brennan Linsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will travel to a military facility outside Washington on Thursday to sign a $16.3 billion plan to ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs facilities as he seeks to restore confidence in an agency tarnished by the problem.

The legislation, passed just before Congress left for summer recess, is intended to clear months-long wait lists for healthcare appointments at VA hospitals and clinics. News that the agency was covering up the delays led to the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in May.

The measure contains $10 billion in new emergency spending and allows veterans to use private doctors at the department’s expense if they cannot get an appointment in less than 30 days.

A senior administration official said new leadership at the VA has accelerated veterans’ access to care but acknowledged that more work needs to be done.

“Over the past several months the American people have been rightly outraged by stories of misconduct at some VA facilities across the country,” a senior administration official said.

Actions by Congress and newly confirmed Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald are a good start, the official said in an email. McDonald is due to travel to Phoenix to tour facilities that were at the center of the scandal, the official added.

McDonald “has truly hit the ground running,” the official said.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Bob Barker is a boss at retirement

Fresh
11-overlay6

The former "Price is Right" host and avid animal lover says he is a "complete success" at retirement, and is enjoying his free time.

in Sports

Soccer rocked as top FIFA officials arrested in U.S. corruption probe

Updated
fifaarrests

Seven of the most powerful figures in soccer face extradition to the U.S. after their arrest in Switzerland, where authorities also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups.

in National

Ford recalls nearly a half-million vehicles

ford

Ford has recalled several models, including the Mustang and Taurus, for a power steering problem.

in Entertainment

Want something sold? Get Liam Neeson to pitch it

liamneeson

The "Taken" star has edged out fellow Irish actor Pierce Brosnan to be named the most effective celebrity pitchman.

in Local Sports

Carroll doesn’t have much to say on Wilson contract situation

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll watches players during NFL football training camp Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, in Renton, Wash.

Star QB thought to be seeking a nine-figure deal