WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), joined by his Republican colleagues on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), introduced the Ensuring Access to VA Information Necessary for Oversight (INFO) Act, legislation that would simply require the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit responses to questions for the record (QFRs) within 45 business days of receipt. In addition to the 45 business day requirement for providing responses, the legislation requires VA to notify Members at any time during the 45-day period if they anticipate not meeting the deadline along with a justification of the inability, an estimate of when the response will be submitted, and a description of the outstanding steps required before submission.
As SVAC refocuses on oversight this Congress after enacting transformational pieces of legislation, the VA INFO Act would allow for more effective oversight of PACT implementation, the VA MISSION Act, EHRM, the Caregiver Program, and more. It is Congress’ responsibility to provide oversight to ensure federal agencies are operating effectively and efficiently, and the lack of timely responses severely limits Congress’ ability to do so.
“It is unacceptable that the VA routinely keeps members of Congress waiting on responses to questions, which allows the VA to sidestep oversight,” said Senator Tillis. “We need more transparency and accountability, and I’m proud to lead the introduction of the VA INFO Act to promote stronger oversight and ensure veterans are receiving the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve in a timely manner.”
This legislation builds on successful efforts from Senator Tillis last year to ensure the VA is reducing the backlog of FOIA requests.
Co-sponsors include Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).