President Donald Trump said he’d personally be willing to lend money to the Veterans Affairs Department to help cover the costs of its massive health care overhaul.
“I’d be willing,” Trump told CNN’s “New Day” on Sunday.
“I’d tell them to go ahead and do it.”
Trump made the comments on Saturday as the Senate and House were debating the VA’s $1.1 trillion healthcare overhaul, which includes more than $1 trillion in cuts to the agency.
The president on Sunday told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he had made clear to VA Secretary David Shulkin that the country would not accept his VA takeover of the agency unless it was approved by Congress.
“We’re in the process of going to Congress and getting it approved,” Trump said on Fox News.
“The VA system is collapsing.
We’re going to fix it, and we’ll fix it very quickly.
We’ll be very happy to do that.
But I’m also telling David, get it done and I will do it, because we’re going forward.”
Shulkin has been the subject of criticism from veterans groups and Democrats who say the VA has been shortchanged by the Trump administration.
Democrats and Republicans have been discussing a VA privatization bill for months.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she plans to unveil a new VA privatization package in the coming weeks.
“This is about putting the veterans first and making sure that we have a system that’s secure, has the resources it needs and that is operating at a sustainable level,” Trump, who has yet to say whether he would veto the House version of the bill, said on Saturday.
“And we’ll see what happens with that.
We have to see what it takes to get that done.”
The VA has struggled to meet expectations, with some veterans groups complaining that its veterans are being unfairly singled out by the agency’s leadership.
Veterans groups have long warned that privatization could leave them without services such as health care, job training and even access to long-term care.
They also said the VA was understaffed and lacked resources for outreach and care coordination.