Lawmakers like Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) have made numerous calls for Florida to return COVID-19 funds to the federal government. In an effort to ensure that funds that have been dispersed are being used appropriately, Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) voted in favor of the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021. The legislation, introduced by Illinois sponsoring Rep. Mike Bost (R) passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee by a 22-6 vote, and it had the support of five bipartisan House cosponsors, which includes one Republican and Four Democrats. After a final vote of 411 in favor and 4 against, the bill now heads to the Senate.
In introducing the bill, Bost expressed that “no matter how worthy the cause, taxpayers deserve to know how their hard-earned money is spent.” Informing that “Congress has given VA tens of billions of dollars to respond to COVID-19 on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars that make up VA’s regular budget,” Bost added that “we have gotten very little information in return about how that money will be spent.” In response, the bill was introduced in order to enforce some transparency.
“It is supported by my friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol as well as by VA,” he detailed, hoping that lawmakers “can get it to the President’s desk quickly.”
Bost is a Ranking Member on the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, and in introducing the bill, Bost was joined by California Rep. Mark Takano (D) who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs.
The message of the bill is “to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse and make sure that taxpayer money is spent wisely in support of VA’s sacred mission.”
President Joe Biden (D) has not yet commented on the bill.