news bill would modernize process to invest in veterans affairs infrastructure better serve veterans
Politics

Bill would modernize process to invest in VA infrastructure, better serve veterans

Mark Warner
Mark Warner

The Build, Utilize, Invest, Learn and Deliver (BUILD) for Veterans Act of 2022 would strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to carry out infrastructure projects.

Sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner, the legislation would provide investment for new veterans facilities so that the VA can better care for veterans across the United States. According to a press release, one of the U.S.’s largest and fastest-growing concentrations of veterans is in Virginia.

“I have been working for years to ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the high-quality medical care they deserve,” Warner said in the press release. “Unfortunately, as a country, we’ve struggled to keep up with the needs of veterans seeking care and support through the VA, due in part to processes that are just too slow and too bureaucratic, leading to years of unnecessary delays in opening and remodeling needed hospitals, clinics and benefits offices. This legislation will push the VA to modernize and improve its capacity to manage current and future infrastructure projects.”

The BUILD for Veterans Act would bolster and invest in VA infrastructure by requiring the Department to:

Develop relevant plans, metrics, infrastructure workforce hiring strategies, year-by-year budgets and oversight mechanisms to overhaul its capacity to accomplish new facility projects and provide Congress with its plans and performance data for enhanced accountability.

Implement a more concrete schedule to eliminate or repurpose unused and vacant buildings such as old maintenance sheds or warehouses to safeguard taxpayer dollars, and focus funding on new and productive infrastructure.

Examine infrastructure budgeting strategies, identify if reforms are required, and implement industry best practices.

Provide annual budget requirements over a 10-year period so that Congress and VA can set about on the task of fully modernizing VA’s infrastructure in a strategic, comprehensive approach.

 

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.