News

Obama to sign $16.3B veterans spending bill

Obama to sign $16.3B veterans spending bill

VETERANS AFFAIRS: Attendees pray during the invocation at the opening of the National Order of the Purple Heart National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 5. U.S. Veterans Administration Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson says more employees will be disciplined as the department sorts out a scandal over long waits for health care and falsified data. Photo: Associated Press/Brennan Linsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will travel to a military facility outside Washington on Thursday to sign a $16.3 billion plan to ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs facilities as he seeks to restore confidence in an agency tarnished by the problem.

The legislation, passed just before Congress left for summer recess, is intended to clear months-long wait lists for healthcare appointments at VA hospitals and clinics. News that the agency was covering up the delays led to the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in May.

The measure contains $10 billion in new emergency spending and allows veterans to use private doctors at the department’s expense if they cannot get an appointment in less than 30 days.

A senior administration official said new leadership at the VA has accelerated veterans’ access to care but acknowledged that more work needs to be done.

“Over the past several months the American people have been rightly outraged by stories of misconduct at some VA facilities across the country,” a senior administration official said.

Actions by Congress and newly confirmed Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald are a good start, the official said in an email. McDonald is due to travel to Phoenix to tour facilities that were at the center of the scandal, the official added.

McDonald “has truly hit the ground running,” the official said.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Latest News

in Local, Music, Sports, UVA, UVA Sports

UVA, N.C. State Play Double Header Sunday

Rotunda from NW (RG)

The UVA baseball program will play a double-header Sunday against N.C. State in Raleigh.

in Local, Surrounding Counties

Fire Destroys House Near Stanardsville

Greene County Seal    110913

A fire has gutted a single-story house near Stanardsville.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Arrest Count Dwindles At Foxfield

Updated
Foxfield Races Horses 042509 (RG)

The latest spring running of the Foxfield races was cooler, wetter, and generated fewer arrests.

in Music

Warhol’s take on Bob Dylan, Lou Reed to be shown in Times Square

bobdylan

Andy Warhol's short films featuring the music legends will be screened on a big billboard in the Big Apple.

in Entertainment, Sports

Bruce Jenner: ‘I am a woman’

brucejenner

The retired Olympic champion confirmed long-running speculation suggesting he is transitioning from male to female.