The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that increases oversight and management of Department of Veterans Affairs projects costing more than $100 million.
The bill would put management of these projects into the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers or other federal agencies. It would also require that the V.A. provide Congress with progress reports.
The legislation would also place financial restrictions on V.A. projects, with a 60-day notice requirement for planning and design funding. The House’s action came after concerns over mismanagement and cost overruns on a new V.A. hospital project in Aurora, Colo. That project is now expected to cost $1.7 billion — three times the original contract price — and is scheduled to open four years behind schedule in 2018.
Investigators say the project’s problems stem from design changes, and the V.A.'s decision to use a complicated contract process. The bill also authorizes expansion of a Tampa, Fla., V.A. hospital, and provides $561.4 million for five other projects.
The bill will go to the Senate for a vote.