WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today introduced the VA Infrastructure Powers Exceptional Research (VIPER) Act. This 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 and the first successful liver transplant.
“VA has long been a leader in medical and prosthetic research,” said Bost. “The VIPER Act will make VA’s ability to deliver groundbreaking advancements on what matters 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.”
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
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.