Your daily morning veterans news update for Friday, August 1:
Senate passes VA overhaul in 91-3 vote (The Hill)
The Senate on Thursday easily adopted a $17 billion bill meant to revamp the troubled Veterans Affairs (VA) Department. Senators voted 91-3 in favor of a conference agreement that provides $10 billion in funding to pay for veterans to get healthcare at private facilities and another $5 billion to allow the VA to hire more doctors, nurses and other medical staff. The House backed the proposal in a 420-5 vote on Wednesday. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
New VA health care bill has limits (Pensacola News Journal)
Proposed federal legislation expanding veterans health care benefits has restrictions, especially for veterans who did a relatively short-term stint in the military but didn’t reach retirement status.
VA wants to fire 2 accused of manipulating data (Stars & Stripes)
The VA said it wants to fire two supervisors accused of manipulating health care data in Colorado and Wyoming. The VA said that four other employees face suspension, demotion or admonishment. The firings would be the strongest discipline handed out since May in a nationwide scandal over falsifying records on how long veterans wait to get care at VA hospitals and clinics.
First Lady expands effort to end veteran homelessness (Stars & Stripes)
Michelle Obama said the statistic that the U.S. has more than 58,000 homeless veterans is “a stain on the soul of this nation,” as the federal government expands its initiative to provide stable and affordable housing for service members. The first lady announced Thursday nearly 100 local leaders have pledged this month to end homelessness among veterans in their communities by the end of 2015 as a part of the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness.
Veterans groups fight to repeal asbestos law in Wisconsin (The Cap Times)
The bill would repeal what Democratic lawmakers referred to the as the “Corporate Profits over Veterans” act. They said the law limits the rights of victims seeking to recoup damages in a timely fashion for the disabling illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos, including mesothelioma.
Opinion by Bob Dole: Ensuring equal access for wounded veterans (The Washington Times)
“All too often, service members return home with a disability after having bravely served their country. More than 3.8 million veterans receive Veterans Affairs disability compensation and 5.5 million American veterans are now living with a disability, many severe enough to be life-altering. It is for the sake of these brave veterans that we strongly support U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”