Trump signs Veterans Affairs bill at New Jersey golf club

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Trump signs Veterans Affairs bill at New Jersey golf club

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed an emergency spending bill which adds more than $2 billion toward a program that offers veterans private medical care paid for by the government.

The planned celebratory signing ceremony, however, was overshadowed by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that prompted the president to urge "swift restoration of law and order" following two days of demonstrations by white nationalists and counterprotesters.

Trump campaigned on the promise of working to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and on Saturday signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act from his New Jersey golf club.

The president recognized Heller and Sen.

Congress passed the bi-partisan legislation before it began its August recess, but not before raising concerns among veterans groups and Democratic lawmakers about the trend toward privatization of the VA.

Contained in the legislation is $2.1 billion in emergency funds to continue to cover costs of veterans to receive medical care from doctors outside the VA system in fiscal year 2018, which begins October 1.

The choice program needed an immediate infusion of cash to carry it through into the new fiscal year, which begins October 1.

The care program was created to let veterans who'd waited weeks for an appointment or who lived far from a VA clinic to seek care at a private facility, with the costs covered by taxpayers.

More than 225,000 veterans live in Nevada, of which 21,000 are women and almost half, or 120,000 veterans, are younger than 65, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports.

Trump did not take any questions after signing the legislation.

Approved in the wake of the wait-list scandal that saw hundreds of veterans die while stuck on secret wait lists, the choice program allows those caught in backlogs to seek care at from a private clinic or doctor and bill the costs back to the Veterans Affairs Department.

The bill also authorizes an additional $1.8 for the VA to lease 28 major medical facilities and to strengthen a program overseeing the recruitment and training of VA employees.

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