More than a month after the scandal at the Veterans Affairs Department broke, the House and Senate seem to be moving in different directions to solve it, each bringing up its own pieces of legislation this week.
But those differences are small and will be resolved without much delay, both sides say, hinting at the potential for a quick, bipartisan solution to a major national problem — something rarely seen in recent Congresses.
The House on Tuesday passed its third bill aimed at fixing problems at the VA in as many weeks. The most recent measure, and most comprehensive bill so far, was sponsored by House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida and passed 426-0, albeit after a minor voting mishap.
Meanwhile, the Senate is focused on bringing up its own legislation, proposed by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, that represents a compromise with Sen. John McCain and other Republican members. That vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday, will likely come on Wednesday or Thursday.
In an unusual move, Reid has said that he is open to looking at amendments — even from Republicans — that are germane to the legislation. That might not sound like much of a concession, but given that Reid has blocked Republican amendments more than twice as often as every previous majority leader combined, it certainly represents a significant shift.