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VA fix, border Band-Aid put pressure on Congress

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
• VA fix, border Band-Aid put pressure on Congress
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• Hillary: I was ‘designated yeller’
• Power Play: Cassidy makes his case
• Who’s next, Donald Duck?

VA FIX, BORDER BAND-AID PUT PRESSURE ON CONGRESS
With one eye on the clock and the other on the priming the pump for the home stretch of this year’s midterm elections, Democratic and Republican lawmakers are scrambling. Both sides are vying to reap the maximum political benefit from what does and doesn’t get done in the next few days before Congress adjourns for a five-week recess. The pressure to repair the broken Veterans Affairs healthcare system exposed by scandal and to stem the continuing flood of immigrants across the southern border is immense. Over the next few days the action or perceived inaction in Washington on these fronts will have a huge impact on the summer debate and major consequences for candidates moving into November. As of today, the prospects of a deal on the VA are brighter, while the border crisis may well go unresolved. With President Obama’s approval ratings in the tank and the likelihood that Democrats will lose control of the Senate increasing, don’t be surprised if the blue team squelches a border deal and engages in heavy finger-pointing, complete with claims of Republican inaction.

VA a done deal? - Fox News: “The leaders of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees reached a tentative deal Sunday to improve veterans’ health care -- a potential solution to help fix such ongoing problems as delays for benefits and long waits for medical treatment concealed by secret lists. The tentative deal would also end speculation about whether Congress would indeed begin a five-week summer recess without a legislative solution amid widespread national outrage over problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The committee chairmen, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., worked through the weekend and have scheduled a press conference for Monday to talk about the tentative deal….The pair said in a joint statement that they had ‘made significant progress’ toward an agreement on legislation ‘to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.’… Sanders proposed a bill last week that would cost about $25 billion over three years. Miller’s proposal would approve $10 billion in emergency spending. Those proposals would have scaled back separate House- and Senate-passed bills after lawmakers in both parties expressed shock at price tags totaling more than $35 billion. The proposals would still allow veterans to go to private doctors if they face long waits for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA site.”

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel will have the details of the compromise.]

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Chris Stirewalt

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