Griffin Applauds Advancement of Veterans Bill to Conference Committee

Jun 18, 2014 Issues: Congressional Issues, Veterans

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after the House voted to advance the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act (H.R. 3230) to a Conference Committee with the Senate:

“Today’s vote is a key step toward ensuring mistreatment of our veterans never happens again. Now, the bills that my House colleagues and I recently passed to hold Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) executives accountable and provide our veterans with access to quality care will go to a Conference Committee with the Senate, where our differences will be resolved to finalize this important legislation. I applaud the collaboration and efforts to advance this comprehensive bill, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to enact effective reforms at the VA and keep our nation’s promise to take care of America’s heroes.”                                                            

On May 21, 2014, the House passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act (H.R. 4031), by a vote of 390-33. This bill gives the Secretary of Veterans Affairs authority to remove senior executive employees if the Secretary determines that the employee’s performance warrants removal. Find out more about the specific provisions in the bill here.

On June 6, 2014, the House passed the Veteran Access to Care Act (H.R. 4810), by a vote of 426-0. Rep. Griffin is an original cosponsor of H.R. 4810. According to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, this bill provides access to non-VA care at the department’s expense for any enrolled veteran who is unable to get an appointment within the VA’s wait time goals or who lives more than 40 miles away from a VA health facility. The bill also bans bonuses for VA employees for the next 2 years and requires an independent assessment of the Veterans Health Administration to include plans for improving the VA’s current health care system. Find out more about the specific provisions in the bill here.

The Senate passed similar legislation, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, by making it an amendment to H.R. 3230, an unrelated appropriations measure previously passed by the House. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 93-3. A summary is available here.

Today, the House passed H.Res. 628. This resolution approves H.R. 3230 as amended by the Senate, adds one House Amendment to include H.R. 4031 and H.R. 4810 and allows H.R. 3230 to go to a Conference Committee of House and Senate members.