A bipartisan Senate bill to revamp the Dept. of Veterans Affairs would establish a panel to review and recommend improvements in the VA's construction program. The bill, introduced on June 9, results from a deal between Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

For the construction industry, the package's key item is a 13-member commission to examine VA construction, which "has been an ongoing problem" with the department, Sanders said.

The bill directs the panel to review current VA medical-facility construction projects and leases and identify any problems the VA experienced in carrying them out.

The commission would issue a report within 120 days of the bill's enactment, recommending improvements in the projects and program. VA's secretary would have 60 days to report to Congress "on the feasibility and advisability" of adopting the recommendations.

The bill doesn't provide new VA construction funds but authorizes leases for 26 major medical facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico.