Bipartisanship is here! Well, okay, for one recent bill. Both of Pennsylvania’s senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey, voted the same way on a bill. And it wasn’t a resolution honoring a sports team for winning a championship — that’s more of a House thing — it was an actual bill that’s going to cost money and help actual people!
Both Pennsylvania Senators voted yes to the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, which passed 93-3 in the Senate. Similar legislation is in the House. The bills are a response to the recent scandal involving the Veterans Administration, where systemic scheduling issues left many vets with incredibly long waits for treatment. Though they haven’t been linked to the delays, some vets have died waiting for treatment.
The Senate bill would give vets more choice when selecting care. Those with long waits, or who live a great distance away from the nearest VA hospital, would be allowed to get treated at other medical care facilities. It also gives the VA administration more authority to demote or fire employees, expedites the hiring of more doctors and nurses, and improves health care for military rape victims.
Toomey’s press release on the bill, which he co-sponsored, first highlighted the ability to fire workers easily. “The people who are behaving badly need to be held accountable,” he said.
Casey highlighted the more upbeat side of the bill: “I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will create more accountability in the VA health system, hire more doctors and nurses and provide resources for veterans and their spouses to attain a quality education.”