Senate OKs bills to address VA budget crisis, claims backlog
By HOPE YEN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has approved a pair of bills taking aim at urgent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It has cleared a $3.9 billion emergency spending package to fix a looming budget crisis. Lawmakers have also adopted new measures to pare down a rapidly growing backlog of veterans' disability claims.
Both bills passed Tuesday night by unanimous vote.
The spending package provides $2.1 billion to continue funding the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to receive private medical care at government expense. VA Secretary David Shulkin had warned that without congressional action the program would run out of money by mid-August, disrupting medical care for thousands of veterans.