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Senate OKs VA IT Reform Bill; Sen. Jon Tester Quoted

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Sen. Jon Tester
Sen. Jon Tester US Senator

The U.S. Senate has voted to pass a bill that aims to help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) better manage information technology activities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs IT Reform Act aims to boost the transparency and oversight across VA's IT projects, the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Friday.

Tester introduced the bill alongside Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., making the bill bipartisan. The bill would direct VA to strictly monitor spending done in IT programs critical to the care services and benefits being provided to the nation's veterans.

The legislation also calls for VA to support the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Data Center Consolidation Initiative and address IT-related recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“When veterans can’t access the benefits and care they earned because the VA’s IT systems don’t work, are over budget or take years to come online—well, we’ve got to do something about it,” said Tester, who is the ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

The House of Representatives will examine and vote on the bill next.