President Signs VA Reform Bill

(Washington, DC) -- A bill reforming the troubled Veterans Affairs Department is in the books. President Obama signed the VA legislation at the Fort Belvoir Army base in Northern Virginia. He said all veterans should have access to the care they have earned and deserve. The Senate and House worked with unusual speed to craft the measure in response to systemic scheduling problems, long wait times and poor care at VA health clinics. Obama called it inexcusable and outrageous.
The more than 16-billion dollar bill provides funding to expand VA facilities and hire more doctors and nurses. It also gives many vets the option of seeking private healthcare. The measure gives top managers authority to expedite firings of corrupt and incompetent VA employees. Obama noted that there is still a lot of hard work ahead. He said there should be "zero tolerance" in the U.S. for homelessness among veterans.
The Senate recently confirmed Robert McDonald as the new VA secretary. McDonald is an Army vet and a former CEO of Procter & Gamble. He replaced Eric Shinseki , who abruptly resigned several weeks ago. McDonald joined the President at the bill signing ceremony. Obama said McDonald has hit the ground running and is scheduling visits with VA facilities around the country.