VA and federal highway bills passed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Two major bills have made through way through Congress and are finally heading to President Obama's desk for a signature.

Thursday night, the Senate easily approved a $16.3 billion compromise measure to fix the trouble Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill provides $10-billion in emergency spending so veterans can go to a private doctor if they cannot get into a VA hospital quickly.

The legislation also includes $5-billion to hire more VA doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

$1.3 billion is going towards opening 27 new VA clinics across the country.

Congress also approved a bill to prevent a 28-percent cut in federal highway and mass transit aid.

The measure will add to the Federal Highway Trust Fund with an infusion of $10.8 billion from the general treasury.

That's enough to keep the fund financially stable through May.

The Transportation Department set Friday as the date the fund would no longer be able to provide all the aid promised from incoming gasoline and diesel fuel taxes.