Dec 10 2016
Legislation Would Allow Communities To Help With Planning & Construction Of VA Projects
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate has passed legislation championed by U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), known as the CHIP IN for Vets Act. The bill would allow local communities across the country to assist with the planning and construction of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities. The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
Senator Fischer released the following statement after the bill passed the Senate:
“CHIP IN for Vets will help ensure our veterans can access the quality health care they deserve. I collaborated with the Omaha VA, members of the Omaha community, and my House colleague, Brad Ashford, on this important bill. For months, I worked in Washington with VA Secretary Bob McDonald, the committee chairmen, Congressional leadership, and their dedicated staff to advance it. This bill is needed. With it, our nation can better deliver on its promises to our veterans.”
With VA facilities across the country aging and in need of updating, Senator Fischer drafted the CHIP IN for Vets Act and introduced the Senate version earlier this year. The bill, which has the support of VA Secretary Bob McDonald, would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to let local communities manage construction of VA projects. Specifically, it would set up a pilot program to test this new model of construction with five initial projects. The VA has already identified communities that are ready, willing, and able to partner with them on this initiative. Under this legislation, the city of Omaha and the Omaha VA would be eligible to participate.
The VA has already appropriated millions of dollars to construction projects that remain unfinished or have not yet begun. The CHIP IN for Vets Act would also allow communities to take the lead, contribute the remaining finances, and ensure these projects are completed on-time and on-budget. The VA’s financial obligation would be limited to the previous appropriation and not one dollar more.
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