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Bill to ban VA hospital construction advances

A bill to strip the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from managing construction projects of more than $100 million cleared a legislative hurdle on July 22. The bill passed the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health on a unanimous voice vote.

The bill transfers authority for projects of more than $100 million to non-VA federal entities, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the General Services Administration.

In March 2015, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman initially introduced bipartisan legislation to strip the VA of construction authority for all projects more than $10 million, transferring management authority to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The VA has been criticized for its construction management, with a Government Accountability Office study in 2013 finding four VA hospital construction projects each hundreds of millions over budget and years behind schedule. The cost estimate for the VA hospital project in Aurora has since risen to be a billion dollars over budget alone.

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