Sanders, McCain Meet to Work on Vets Agreement

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Byline: Jacqueline Klimas, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

While there's no bipartisan agreement yet, Sen. Bernard Sanders said Wednesday that both Democrats and Republicans have the same goal: getting veterans care as soon as possible.

The Vermont independent met with Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, on Wednesday morning to discuss a possible compromise between the Democratic and GOP bills to fix the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.

"I think Sen. McCain wants to see us make certain that veterans throughout the country do not have to wait in endless lines in order to get the healthcare that they need and I absolutely agree. My legislation does it a little bit differently than his legislation does, but they both have the same goal," Mr. Sanders said following the meeting.

While the two senators met, a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Mr. Sanders' legislation scheduled for Thursday was postponed and a spokesman said there may be floor action Thursday relating to veterans issues.

Mr. Sanders introduced this week the Restoring Veterans Trust Act of 2014, which would allow veterans some ability to seek care outside the VA and give the next secretary more power to fire top executives, but would also make broader changes such as expanded access to alternative medicine and changes to GI Bill benefits.

The GOP alternative, the Veterans Choice Act, was introduced by Mr. McCain with Sens. Richard Burr, Jeff Flake and Tom Coburn. It would give veterans a choice card to seek private care if they had to wait too long for an appointment or lived too far from a VA facility. …