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Coats, Donnelly back VA bill

Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., each voted Wednesday in favor of legislation that aims to cut wait times for military veterans seeking medical care.

The Senate passed the measure in a 93-3 vote.

Coats said in a floor speech that his Indianapolis office is trying to help more than 550 veterans who have been unable to obtain satisfactory care or benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Too many bureaucrats view our veterans as a list of numbers rather than the heroes worthy of our very best care,” Coats said in remarks broadcast by C-SPAN.

He said he supports provisions of the legislation that would have VA pay for long-waiting veterans to receive private-sector medical care and that would make it easier for the VA secretary to fire and demote department officials – what he called “the removal of bad actors here.”

“We do know that there have been mistakes, there has been mismanagement, and there has been outright fraud,” said Coats, an Army veteran.

Donnelly lauded the same provisions but added in a statement, “While passage of this bill marks critical progress, there is a lot left to do to ensure veterans get the care they deserve.”

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