Rep. Coffman Veteran's Bills Pass House

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Washington, July 25, 2017 | comments

Bill Pushes for Efficiency & Transparency at VA

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06), a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, applauded the overwhelming and bipartisan passage of H.R. 2006, the 'VA Procurement Efficiency and Transparency Act,' by the full House of Representatives. The bill, once fully enacted, will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to uniformly track cost savings in its contracting competitions and ensure the use of standardized contracting procedures.

"The VA has mismanaged billions of dollars in contract spending through its archaic procurement rules," said Coffman, member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. "Sadly, these mismanaged billions could have gone towards the care and benefits for our veterans. H.R. 2006 is a concrete first step towards stopping the waste & modernizing the VA’s procurement process."

In 2015, The Washington Post reported it had obtained an internal VA memo showing the VA “has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk”. In 2016, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report estimated that the VA’s annual procurement budget is about $20 billion dollars. In the same report, GAO noted: “[The] VA must have clear policies and effective oversight in place to ensure that veterans’ needs are being met and that VA is taking full advantage of discounted pricing. VA faces challenges in doing so, in large part due to the highly decentralized nature of its procurement organization.”

Currently, VA procurement officials measure savings using inconsistent local policies and widely varying models. These inconsistencies result in flawed or incomplete data. H.R. 2006 mandates high-level parameters for how the VA calculates its savings from competitive contracting and directs the VA to standardize and centralize its procurement document templates. Doing so should create transparent and consistent procurement processes for the VA. This bill passed the House with voice vote.  

Additionally, key provisions furnished by Coffman in H.R. 2549, the 'GI Bill Processing Improvement Act' were included in H.R. 3218, the 'Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.' Commonly referred to as the 'Forever GI Bill,' the bill seeks to create the largest expansion of veteran educational benefits in over a decade and lifts the current 15-year limit to use such benefits. This bill passed the House with voice vote.

Coffman is a Marine Corps combat veteran with a combined 21 years of military service. He serves on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, and House Armed Services Committee and where he is the Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.

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