The US Veterans Administration now serves some nine million veterans across America.
Shelby is joined in his effort by the top Appropriations Committee Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as well as the leaders of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Sen.
Their effort has run into stringent opposition from a White House still reeling from conservative backlash to the $1.3 trillion government-wide spending bill Trump signed in March.
The White House is pressuring Republican lawmakers not to support the new spending that they say will bust spending caps and rack up more debt.
An administration official told the Washington Free Beacon the White House is committed to funding health care for current and future heroes and said the expansion can be paid for under existing spending caps.
President Trump signed a new bill Wednesday aimed at increasing access to healthcare and expanding choices for Veterans across the United States; clearing the path for America's service members to receive services from the private sector.
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The proposed bill would allow veterans to seek care from a private physician, with the approval of a VA health care provider, when they think that VA's health care systems can't provide the care they need.
"The signing of this legislation marks the completion of the final piece in a great mosaic of veterans reforms that we set out to accomplish over the last two years".
It could be a preview of spending fights to come, with the next government shutdown deadline looming on September 30, just ahead of the November midterm elections. Of that, $73.1 billion would go toward health care services for veterans.
The Mission Act revamps a private-care program Congress approved in 2014 after a scandal over fudged patient wait lists for medical appointments. "Veterans are now empowered to have more control over their health care and more quality choices within their own communities". Of critical importance to PVA, the MISSION Act will finally expand the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program to those veterans injured prior to September 11, 2001.
Using President Barack Obama's Commission on Care as a model, a committee will be created with representatives from the House, Senate, medical experts and veterans organizations to direct the review and help the VA streamline, he added.
The VA Mission Act also gets rid of restrictions limiting private and community care to veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA Facility, or have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.