Washington, DC – This afternoon, Congressman Pearce voted for the VA MISSION Act of 2018. This legislation undertakes a massive reform to the operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), especially related to veterans' access to localized care.
"The VA is broken, and it is not just a services problem," said Pearce. "It is a cultural problem. A problem that resulted in countless veterans dying due to the deficiencies and complete failures of VA personnel. The Veterans Choice Program has been extremely productive in bridging the access to care gap for rural and underserved veterans, but it has not changed the culture within the VA.
"Ultimately, I believe the VA MISSION Act has the potential to safeguard the access to care that our veterans deserve, while also fundamentally reforming and improving the culture of the VA from the top, down. If we are successful, veterans in the future will not face the challenges and blatant failures they see today. After careful consideration and input from our New Mexico veteran communities and Acting Secretary Wilkie, I believe this bill has the framework to broaden veterans' opportunity to see their local providers. This is especially true with the assurance that my office will be an active part of the reform process that will take place once VA MISSION is law. I will never stop working to provide veterans with the care they were promised for defending our freedoms. The care they deserve."
This morning, Congressman Pearce met with Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie to discuss the Veterans Choice Program and its benefits for veterans who live in rural and underserved communities. The meeting took place in Congressman Pearce's Washington, D.C. office. In addition to Acting Secretary Wilkie, Rep. Pearce was joined by three other Members of Congress, two of whom are combat veterans, who also wanted to address access to care in VA MISSION Act.
The VA MISSION Act of 2018 passed the House of Representatives by a final vote of 347-70. This bill will consolidate all community care programs into one overarching care program. It will establish an Asset and Infrastructure Review process to oversee the modernization of the VA's facilities. Finally, VA MISSIONS Act will end the Veterans Choice Program at the end of 2019, among other reforms.