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Bill Proposed to Authorize 24 Overdue VA Leases

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's two U.S. senators are introducing legislation to authorize leases for two dozen federal Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in 15 states.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King are submitting the legislation along with Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat.

The legislation would authorize 18 overdue leases from the last two fiscal years along with six facilities that need to be authorized in the upcoming fiscal year.

The senators say Congress has not authorized any major VA facility leases since 2012 and that is holding back veterans' ability to access health care.

The leases include one for a proposed outpatient facility in Portland. It is a joint partnership between the Maine VA, Maine Medical Center and the Tufts School of Medicine.