President Donald Trump will sign the VA Mission Act of 2018 on Wednesday, bringing the department into the 21st century and expanding healthcare access to veterans. The new legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump this afternoon in the Rose Garden.
The U.S. Congress passed the VA Mission Act in May, which appropriates $52 billion for increasing heath care access for veterans outside of the VA system.
It is expected to be implemented in one year and will eventually replace the VA Choice Program, which was passed in 2014 in the wake of the VA scandal under the Obama Administration.
“This is another critical step in fulfilling our promise to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs. With these reforms to vital care services, we are returning the VA to its core mission,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. “Importantly, the Veterans Choice Program will remain funded while a streamlined community care program is established, because no veteran should be without access to quality care.”
Despite multiple major reforms under the Trump Administration, the White House cites a recent report to argue wait times are still too high. Veterans are waiting up to roughly 70 days to receive care.
“Passing this legislation is another promise made and promise kept to America’s Veterans under President Trump’s leadership, which has provided the most substantial VA reform in a generation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement after passage in the U.S. Senate. “The Administration will continue implementing policies that transform and modernize the VA to better serve our nation’s heroes.”