Senate Moves To Strip VA Of Authority Over Big Construction Projects

Photo: Aurora VA Hospital construction April 2015 3, silhouetted man walking (AP Photo)
Workers build the Veterans Affairs hospital Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Aurora, Colo.

The U.S. Senate has tentatively approved legislation to strip the Veterans Affairs Department of the authority to manage large construction projects after massive cost overruns on a Denver-area hospital.

The Senate voted Tuesday to amend a defense bill to give the Army Corps of Engineers management power over VA construction projects costing more than $100 million.

The change is one of several Congress is demanding before approving enough money to complete a half-finished medical center in suburban Denver. The facility is expected to cost up to $1.73 billion, nearly three times last year's estimate.

Work has continued on the hospital under a series of temporary measures while Congress and the Obama administration try to agree on a longer-term deal to finish it. The VA has asked for another $625 million.