New deal reached to fix VA budget crisis after vets protest

Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on a $3.9 billion emergency spending package to fill a shortfall in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ program of private-sector care.

The plan also would boost core VA health programs, something insisted on by veterans’ groups.

The deal unveiled Thursday would provide $2.1 billion over six months to continue funding the Choice program. It provides federally paid medical care outside the VA and is a priority of President Donald Trump.

Another $1.8 billion would pay for 28 leases for new medical facilities. That cost would be covered by trimming spending in other areas.

A House vote is planned for Friday.

VA Secretary David Shulkin has warned that without legislative action Choice would run out of money by mid-August, causing delays to care.

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