Bennet Praises House Passage of Bill to Continue VA Hospital Construction

Bill Introduced by Bennet, Gardner Passed Senate Yesterday

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today praised the passage of a bipartisan bill by the House of Representatives that allows for continued construction of the Aurora VA hospital. The bill - introduced by Bennet and Gardner and unanimously passed by the Senate yesterday - gives the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) authority to use $150 million it currently has to continue construction of the Aurora VA hospital.

"While another temporary funding solution isn't the ideal way to move forward, it avoids a shutdown of construction that would be even more costly in the long run," Bennet said. "Our bipartisan bill gives Congress and the VA more time to agree on a plan that identifies funding to complete the project and includes strong accountability measures to keep the project on track. The Colorado delegation will continue to work together to ensure veterans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region get the hospital they have earned and deserve."

Last week, Bennet secured an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 with Senator Cory Gardner that directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the administration and oversight of VA contracts for the design and construction of major medical facility projects. It will examine the VA's design models, the agency's change order process, and how the agency compares to private-sector best practices.

The senators also introduced an amendment to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority to manage major construction projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The amendment would designate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the construction agent on all VA projects over $100 million.

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