VA: Aurora hospital construction will stop if Congress doesn’t act

Photo: Aurora VA Hospital construction April 2015, chain link fence (AP Photo)
As seen through the pattern of a fence, a sign stands at the construction site of the Veterans Affairs hospital Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Aurora, Colo.

The VA says construction on the budget-busting Denver veterans hospital will stop if Congress doesn't authorize more spending on the project within a week.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Monday his department has identified $150 million it could funnel to the project from this year's budget, but Congress must first raise the spending limit by $200 million to $1 billion.

The spending limit is separate from the the $730 million the VA is asking Congress to appropriate to finish the project.

In a memo dated Monday, McDonald told the Senate panel if Congress doesn't raise the spending limit by May 24, builder Kiewit-Turner will stop work.

The hospital is expected to cost $1.7 billion, nearly three times the estimate the VA gave last year.