(U.S. Senate) – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation this week championed by Chairman Jon Tester of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to regularly report to Congress on emergency COVID-19 relief funding. This legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The Senator’s VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 would direct VA to submit bi-weekly reports to Congress on how COVID-19 relief funds are allocated—providing committee leaders additional strong oversight over the Department’s spending. It would also require reviews of VA spending by the VA Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
“When the pandemic took hold last year, Congress worked quickly to give VA the resources it needed to deliver uninterrupted care and benefits to our veterans,” said Tester. “It’s our continued responsibility to ensure COVID-19 relief funds are spent responsibly and in a way that best serves veterans in Montana and across the country. Unanimous passage of my bipartisan bill means we’re one step closer to doing just that.”
As Chairman, Tester fought tirelessly to secure billions in the American Rescue Plan to deliver targeted relief to veterans across the country recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This included $14.5 billion for VA to provide health care services and related support to eligible veterans, such as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced telehealth capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and personal protective equipment and supplies for clinical employees. He also successfully delivered nearly $20 billion as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $60 million in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to strengthen VA’s response to combatting the virus.
Text of the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 can be found HERE.