Government affairs

Legislative Updates

President signs VA Mission Act

Today, President Trump signed the “Veterans Cemetery Benefit Correction Act” (S. 2372). While this bill was initially unrelated, it became a vehicle for the “VA Mission Act” (previously H.R. 5674), passed in the House 347-70, and in the Senate 92-5.

This measure will give the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary the authority to privatize and consolidate veteran health care programs, including the VA Choice Program, into a single, permanent Veterans Community Care Program. The $55 billion bill includes $5.2 billion in a one-year extension of the VA Choice program until the new system is in place.

There are serious concerns from some legislators and many federal unions that this measure does little to nothing to actually fix the problems within the VA, but instead simply outsources primary care to the private sector.

Additionally, it establishes a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)-style commission that would evaluate the VA’s infrastructure needs, and allows the BRAC process to deplete the VA medical services account without restrictions. Given the enormous cost overruns associated with military BRACs, this is especially concerning to those opposed to the bill.

NALC signed onto a letter (viewable here) drafted by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in opposition to this bill.

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