WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will be among a select group of lawmakers tasked with reconciling the differences between a trio of appropriations bills to fund the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the legislative branch, as well as military construction and water projects, for the coming fiscal year.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) announced the names of the nine senators, including Boozman, who will work with appointees from the House of Representatives to finalize the minibus appropriations bill, which packages together the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch appropriations bills.
“I am honored to be among those chosen to finalize this appropriations package as we continue toward restoring regular order to the federal funding process. This important legislative package includes funding for critical investments in our nation’s priorities for infrastructure, facilities for U.S. military forces and their families and upholds our promise to our veterans by funding VA health care and benefit programs,” Boozman said.
Boozman serves as Chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee. In addition to authoring the portion of the Senate-passed funding package that pertains to military construction and veterans programs, Boozman led the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma delegations in introducing an amendment adopted by the Senate that requires the VA to submit a departmental response plan to Congress that can be applied in Fayetteville—and all future cases of disclosures—and provide recommendations about changes necessary to prevent such incidents.
“I will continue to work to ensure that the final version includes language I authored to ensure VA has procedures in place to prevent tragedies that result because of physician misconduct, like that at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, from happening in the future – both in Arkansas and around the country,” Boozman said.
The amendment requires that any plan must detail:
- Identification process for individuals impacted by disclosures
- Procedures for expediting follow-up care as required
- Detailed outline of proposed changes to clinical quality checks and oversight
- Communication plan for the entire Department
- Implementation timeline
- Identification of a senior executive responsible for ensuring compliance
- Identification of potential impacts of the plan on timely diagnoses
- Identification of the processes and procedures for employees to express concerns