VA MISSION Act heads to the president’s desk

The John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, also called the VA MISSION Act, passed its final hurdle May 23. The bipartisan bill overhauling health-care choices for veterans passed the Senate with a vote of 92-5, meeting the president’s Memorial Day deadline to take action on the issue.

The bill now heads to President Trump's desk to be signed into law.

“This is quite an accomplishment and we’re very proud of it,” said Louis Celli, American Legion executive director of Government and Veterans Affairs, during a May 22 press conference ahead of the Senate vote. “And that’s why 38 VSOs signed letters to support this legislation.”

The legislation includes provisions to consolidate community care programs into a single, streamlined service; provides sufficient funding to extend the program through the next year; expands comprehensive assistance; strengthens ability to recruit, hire and retain quality medical personnel; and reforms the VA’s health-care infrastructure. These provisions will address the inadequacies of the current system.

“The American Legion, together with our partners and allies in the veteran advocacy space, have worked tirelessly with the House and Senate to secure the passage of the VA MISSION Act of 2018,” American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan said. “On the behalf of our two million wartime veterans, we thank all the members of the U.S. Congress who worked with us to enact this important legislation.”

The legislation is expected to be signed into law by the president in the coming days.