House advances Bacon’s CHIP IN for Veterans Act

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) on Sept. 21 applauded approval by the U.S. House of Representatives of an annual extenders bill that includes his bipartisan, bicameral legislation to allow communities across the country to help in the planning and constructing of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities.

The Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed (CHIP IN) for Veterans Act, H.R. 3888, which Rep. Bacon sponsored on June 15 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), extends from five to 10 years the VA pilot program that allows the department to accept donations of property or facilities from specified state or local authorities, according to the text of the bill. U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) on the same day introduced the identical bill, S. 2059, in her chamber.

“Our veterans deserve high quality and modern health services and this extension of the CHIP IN Act will allow communities to invest in and help create these facilities,” Rep. Bacon said. “This is a win for our veterans across the country who will benefit from these public-private partnerships.” 

His measure is included in the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, H.R. 5305, which received House approval on Tuesday and was received and placed on the legislative calendar for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

“The next step is the Senate where I know Sen. Fischer will lead the charge to see this to its full completion,” said Rep. Bacon. 

The original CHIP IN for Vets Act passed Congress in 2016 and authorized the VA Secretary to allow communities to manage construction of VA projects that remain unfinished or haven’t been started. Under the program, communities may take the lead and contribute the remaining funds to ensure the projects are completed, according to information provided by Rep. Bacon’s staff.

In the congressman’s home state, the CHIP IN program funded the construction of Omaha’s $86 million VA ambulatory care clinic by helping to raise an additional $30 million on top of the congressionally appropriated $56 million for the project, the information says.