Rep. Takano Statement on VA Choice Extension

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), vice ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the House passed a short-term funding patch for the VA Choice Program, which included provisions to help the VA solve critical workforce challenges.

“The VA Choice funding extension passed in the House today is critical to preventing unacceptable disruptions in veterans’ care. It also includes important investments in the Department of Veterans Affairs that will support our goal of a strong and sustainable VA.  I applaud Chairman Roe and Ranking Member Walz for once again finding a bipartisan solution that all Members can support.

“I am particularly pleased that this legislation includes several provisions that will strengthen and streamline VA’s ability to recruit, hire, and retain talented and dedicated individuals. Filling the nearly 50,000 vacancies at the VA is vital to expanding the VA’s capacity to provide timely, quality, and consistent care to our nations’ veterans.   

“However, this bill is ultimately a short-term fix to a long-term challenge. The VA Choice Program was well-intentioned but it has often led to confusion and frustration rather than consistent and quality care. Starting today we have six months to develop a more effective, clinically based method for connecting veterans with care in the community. We must use that time wisely. 

On June 29, Rep. Takano introduced the Better Workforce for Veterans Act, which contained many of the VA workforce provisions that were included in the VA Choice funding extension. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) previously proposed similar VA workforce provisions, as well. 

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