Senators Previously Expressed Concern that the VA’s Recommendations Would Be Based on Outdated, Pre-Pandemic Data
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet released the following statement on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recommendations for the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission:
“We owe our veterans an insurmountable debt for their service to our country. They deserve the highest quality of care. We will fight any recommendations that diminish veterans’ ability to access quality health care in a timely and convenient manner — especially while local providers and resources are already strained.
“As this year-long process continues, we will work with the Biden Administration and local partners to ensure that the needs of Colorado veterans are reflected in the final VA recommendations.”
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the VA MISSION Act into law, which instructed the VA to review all health care facilities in its network. It also required VA to make recommendations for changes to a new, presidentially-appointed AIR Commission. President Biden recently nominated individuals for the AIR Commission, all of whom will require Senate confirmation. AIR Commission recommendations are the first step in a multi-year process. Under the law, all VA proposals are required to be reviewed by the Commission, the President, and Congress.
Earlier this month, Hickenlooper and Bennet wrote to VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough to express their concern that these assessments would use outdated data from 2017 and not take into account the effect of the pandemic.