Today Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) announced an agreement on legislation to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and give veterans the flexibility to seek care in their community should the VA be unable to provide care in a timely manner. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai"i), who has repeatedly called for improvements at the VA following a troubling report detailing long wait times at the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center in Honolulu, praised the bipartisan agreement. The agreement also makes way for a major new VA medical facility on Oahu, which will help cut wait times and improve access to health care for veterans on Oahu.
"If there's one area where Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together to find common ground, it's making sure veterans have the health care they need," Senator Schatz said. "This is a great bipartisan step in the right direction that will make way for the ALOHA Center on Oahu and double clinical services for veterans on the island."
Last week, Senator Schatz met with President Obama's VA secretary nominee, Robert McDonald. During the meeting, McDonald pledged his support to working as expeditiously as possible to completing the ALOHA Center on Oahu.