And That is That

The comprehensive veterans benefits and health care bill passed just as the 109th Congress was calling it a day has received the signature of President Bush, formally making it law. Outgoing Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) called passage and signing of the measure “a great way to finish the year.” The $3.2 billion law covers such things as enhancing data security, providing construction funds for new VA health care facilities, and creating an office of rural health. Craig’s House counterpart, outgoing chairman Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), commended VA Secretary James Nicholson for deciding to centralize VA’s information technology and security systems—after nearly a decade of Congressional oversight and last year’s horrendous data breach.