Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced the VA Infrastructure Powers Exceptional Research Act of 2021 or the VIPER Act. This important legislation will give the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) critical tools and resources to further improve its groundbreaking research program. This will not only help VA better serve our nation’s veterans, but will benefit the global community at large as past VA-funded research has led to medical breakthroughs like the first pacemaker, the first successful liver transplant, and more. The VIPER Act has the support of VA, Veterans Service Organizations including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Minority Veterans of America, and Wounded Warrior Project as well as independent scientific organizations whose members spend careers as VA researchers.
“VA has long been a leader in medical and prosthetic research. The VIPER Act will make VA’s ability to deliver groundbreaking advancements on what matter most to veterans even better. This bill is particularly important now as we strive to provide answers to the hundreds of thousands of veterans fighting the effects of toxic exposure,” said Ranking Member Bost. “I am proud to join my friend, Chairman Takano, in introducing this bill today.”
“It’s no secret that research is a jewel in VA’s crown, and we need to ensure that VA can continue to prevent and treat any health challenges our veterans face. That’s why I am proud to introduce the VIPER Act with Ranking Member Bost,” said Chairman Takano. “VA research is crucial in understanding veteran health issues, from the effects of military toxic exposures and chronic pain to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. This bill will make VA’s world-class research programs even more efficient, innovative, and successful in improving the lives of the veterans they serve. With the support of VA, several VSOs, and independent scientific organizations, I’m confident we can give VA researchers the tools and resources they need to aid those who have served this country.”
The VIPER Act will:
• Ensure program continuity by authorizing VA’s Office of Research and Development
• Eliminate burdensome paperwork requirements for VA scientists and administrators
• Allow VA to more efficiently recruit and retain data scientists and researchers on loan from other federal agencies
• Create opportunities for researchers at smaller universities to expand the STEM pipeline serving veterans
• Grant VA more transactional authority in line with 11 other federal agencies
• Mandate a Government Accountability Office study on the retention of VA clinician-scientists and the productivity of their research
Bill text of the VIPER Act can be found here.
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