Committee Leaders Introduce Bill to Ensure Full Transparency on VA COVID Emergency Funds
Today, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statements after they introduced the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021. This vital bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report to Congress on the tens of billions of dollars in emergency funding given to the Department to respond to COVID-19. House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Ranking Member Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kans.) and Chairman Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) also joined the Committee leaders as original cosponsors.
“No matter how worthy the cause, taxpayers deserve to know how their hard-earned money is spent. That is why I am introducing the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 today,” said Ranking Member Bost. “Congress has given VA tens of billions of dollars to respond to COVID-19 on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars that make up VA’s regular budget. We have gotten very little information in return about how that money will be spent. This bill will fix that. It is supported by my friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol as well as by VA. Hopefully we can get it to the President’s desk quickly.”
“The American Rescue Plan is a much needed investment in VA and our nation’s veterans that will help us recover from this pandemic,” said Chairman Takano. “It is yet another clear sign that the Biden-Harris Administration is a strong advocate for veterans. To ensure that these dollars for our veterans are spent wisely and effectively, Congress must have strong, effective oversight over the funding—that’s exactly what our bill will provide. I look forward to President Biden signing our bipartisan, bicameral bill into law.”
“Last year, Congress acted quickly to provide COVID-19 relief to the VA, and it is our responsibility to make certain those taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently to serve our veterans,” said Ranking Member Moran. “This legislation would require the VA to submit biweekly reports to Congress on the use of these funds to prevent waste, fraud or abuse.”
“Veterans expect their public servants to be responsible stewards of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars—plain and simple,” said Chairman Tester. “With billions provided by Congress to VA for delivery of care and benefits during the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that veterans have confidence in VA’s spending practices. The VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 will provide Congress with the information we need to ensure VA is spending COVID-19 relief funds appropriately and in a way that best serves our veterans.”
To learn more about the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021, click here.
Bill text of the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 can be found here.