March 22, 2023

Veterans Committee Ranking Member Mark Takano, Subcommittee Ranking Member Cherfilus-McCormick, Introduce Bills to Improve VA Management and Acquisition

Press Contact

For Immediate Release   
March 22, 2023

Miguel R. Salazar

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Ranking Member Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) issued a statement about the recent introduction of two bills, H.R. 1659, the Department of Veterans Affairs IT Modernization Improvement Act of 2023, and H.R. 1658, the Manage VA Act, to improve management and acquisitions practices at VA. 

“While I am encouraged by President Biden’s and Secretary McDonough’s efforts to make investments in our veterans a top priority in recent years, it is time we also invest in making sure that veterans and taxpayers are getting what they pay for – a modernized and efficiently managed VA,” said Ranking Member Takano.  He continued, “My two bills will bolster accountability at VA by requiring outside verification and validation assessments of major IT modernization programs, and by establishing an Under Secretary for Management to help consolidate and standardize business functions – from acquisition to IT – across VA .  I hope this is the beginning of a bigger discussion about making VA work better for veterans and moving VA healthcare into the future.” 

Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Ranking Member Cherfilus-McCormick added, “As the new Ranking Member of the Technology Modernization Subcommittee, I have already seen the issues that have led to a lack of progress in modernizing IT at VA. These bills will support effective implementation at VA and focus on building up our capacity to provide the healthcare and benefits our veterans deserve while ensuring that taxpayers are getting what they are paying for.” 

Descriptions of the bills can be found below:  

  • H.R. 1658 – “Manage VA Act” - This bill will create the position of the VA Under Secretary for Management, to consolidate and standardize business functions across the Department—from acquisition to IT.  VA acquisition management has been on the GAO High Risk list since 2019, and VA’s poor acquisition management has resulted in a number of failed IT modernization attempts and millions in wasted taxpayer dollars.  The Department needs a leader who will be on par with the Under Secretary for Health and Under Secretary for Benefits to be able to coordinate basic management functions across the Department and help ensure veterans’ timely access to the benefits and healthcare they have earned is not impacted.  
  • H.R. 1659 – Department of Veterans Affairs IT Modernization Improvement Act of 2023 - This bill will require VA to contract for an independent verification and validation assessment of four major IT modernization programs: Electronic Health Records Modernization, Supply Chain Modernization, Financial Management and Business Transformation, and the Veterans Benefits Management System.  Modernizing these IT systems is imperative so that VA can more efficiently deliver the healthcare and benefits veterans have earned, and this bill will help ensure that veterans and taxpayers are getting what they pay for.