Bost’s bipartisan bill bolsters research at VA

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) this week proposed bipartisan legislation to improve research conducted within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“This bill is particularly important now as we strive to provide answers to the hundreds of thousands of veterans fighting the effects of toxic exposure,” Rep. Bost said on Monday.

The VA Infrastructure Powers Exceptional Research (VIPER) Act, H.R. 5721, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), would help provide the VA with critical tools and resources to further improve its groundbreaking research program, according to information provided by Rep. Bost’s office. 

“VA has long been a leader in medical and prosthetic research,” said Rep. Bost. “The VIPER Act will make VA’s ability to deliver groundbreaking advancements on what matters most to veterans even better.”

If enacted, H.R. 5721 would ensure program continuity by authorizing the VA’s Office of Research and Development; eliminate paperwork requirements for VA scientists and administrators; and allow the VA to more efficiently recruit and retain data scientists and researchers on loan from other federal agencies.

Additionally, the measure would create opportunities for researchers at smaller universities to expand the STEM pipeline serving United States military veterans and grant the VA more transactional authority similar to that of 11 other federal agencies, according to a bill summary.

The Government Accountability Office also would be required to study the retention of VA clinician-scientists and the productivity of their research.

H.R. 5721 has garnered support from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Minority Veterans of America, and the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as independent scientific organizations whose members spend careers as VA researchers, according to Rep. Bost’s office.