HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut’s U.S. senators applauded the Thursday night final passage of legislation sending emergency funding to the embattled veterans health care system and increasing the agency’s authority to dismiss incompetent employees.
The Senate gave final approval to the bill in a 91-3 vote, days after the House passed the measure in a bipartisan vote.
Lawmakers from both chambers negotiated the legislation months after revelations of long patient wait times and efforts by federal employees to cover up the Department of Veteran Affairs’ shortcomings.
The bill spends around $17 billion on the veteran’s health care system. It provides funding for vets to access health care services from private providers outside the VA system and provides the agency funding to hire more doctors, nurses and other staff. It also gives the agency more power to fire or demote its senior officials.