U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today supported the veterans' health care reform bill in the U.S. Senate. Vitter successfully included authorization for Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics -- including clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles -- in the final bill. Vitter also highlighted positive reforms to the VA in the bill like making it possible to fire employees, creating more options for veterans to obtain private health care, and adding additional accountability that requires the VA to report on outcomes and make necessary data available.
"This bill gets moving on crucial expanded outpatient clinics -- including two in Louisiana. It gives veterans choice when they're locked in a dysfunctional system. And it gives the VA leadership the tools it needs to clean house and fire people who deserve it. All of these are important reforms that I stand behind," Vitter said.
Last week, Vitter reached an agreement with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) the bill's sponsor to include the Louisiana clinics.
Before the agreement, Vitter had been pushing for unanimous consent for his legislation authorizing the stalled VA clinics since February. Sanders repeatedly blocked Vitter's bill. Vitter pushed for unanimous consent on six separate occasions: February 27, 2014, March 11, 2014, March 26, 2014, April 2, 2014, April 9, 2014, and May 7, 2014.