Government Shutdown Could Hurt Aurora VA Hospital Construction

Sloan Gibson
<p>(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)</p>
<p>The under-construction Veterans Affairs Hospital on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Aurora, Colo.</p>
Photo: VA hospital in Aurora, July 2015 (AP Photo)
The under-construction Veterans Affairs Hospital on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Aurora, Colo.

To keep the government running past Sept. 30, Congress has to pass a temporary budget. The measure would let the VA transfer the $625 million it says it needs from other accounts in its own budget.

But partisan fights over spending, abortion and Planned Parenthood could scuttle the push to pass it, and lead to a government shutdown.

If Congress can’t reach agreement on the temporary budget, construction could halt when the federal government shuts down Oct. 1.

If that happens, further delays, and millions more in costs, could be added to shutter the project and later remobilize and rehire subcontractors to restart work. Earlier this year, the project’s contractor estimated a shutdown of the project could cost upwards of $200 million.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said Wednesday the VA isn't off the hook. He says the agency must hold accountable those responsible for the roughly $1 billion overrun.