PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS S.114

BILL INCLUDES MANY INHOFE PRIORITIES TO SERVE VETERANS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), applauded President Trump for signing S.114, the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, into law.

“Veterans in Oklahoma and across the country know the benefits of the Veterans Choice program—a bipartisan effort that ensures our veterans have access to quality health care,” Inhofe said.  “By signing the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act, President Trump makes his commitment to reforming and improving the VA clear.

“This legislation fulfils our responsibility to ensure that veterans have access to the quality health care they deserve by also enacting meaningful reforms to address staffing shortages and training and retention.”

Background:                               

  • On August 2, the Senate passed S. 114, sending it to the President for signature.
  • On July 11, Inhofe testified before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee in support of the S. 1266  Enhancing Veteran Care Act, which would allow VISN directors to contract with outside organization to conduct investigations into their clinics.
  • On July 10, the VA IG released a report following an investigation of the Muskogee VA that was done in conjunction with a third party, the Joint Commission. An investigation into Oklahoma’s VA clinics in conjunction with a third party was promised to Inhofe after he held the VA IG nominations on the Senate floor last year.  
  • On June 23, President Trump signed S. 1094 the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law. Inhofe cosponsored this legislation. This bill contained portions of S. 2554, which Inhofe introduced last Congress.
  • On Feb. 23, 2016, Inhofe announced on the Senate floor that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had committed in writing to conduct investigations of Oklahoma’s VA hospitals in coordination with an outside entity, a condition made by Inhofe prior to allowing confirmation of the VA Inspector General nominee.
  • On Feb. 12, 2016 Inhofe and Lankford introduced S. 2554, the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act, which would give authority to the Secretary of the VA to remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct.
  • In January 2016, Inhofe requested that the VA IG visit Oklahoma VA facilities with an outside entity. This request was denied.
  • On Dec. 23, 2015, Inhofe contacted VISN 19 Network Director Ralph Gigliotti and requested his personal assistance in ensuring proper care is provided to the five veterans identified in the Dec. 23, 2015, USA Today article. Inhofe continues to work with the VA on care for these veterans to include addressing existing medical issues and any future medical issues.