The project was riddled with errors, mismanagement and problems ranging from hospital doors that were supposed to cost $100 each but ended up running $1,400 to entire rooms that had to be refashioned because requests for medical equipment changed at the last minute.
Last week, the Senate agreed to a bill that would allow the VA to spend the additional $625 million. The Senate measure includes a provision that would put the Army Corps of Engineers in charge of any VA project expected to cost $100 million or more.
But the measure was opposed by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) chairman of the House veterans committee and an outspoken critic of the agency.
Miller wanted the VA to cover part of the $625 million with $200 million used to pay VA employee bonuses.
VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, recently tapped to get the Denver project back on track, called that suggestion “a lousy idea,” saying it would take money out of the pockets of hard-working employees.
On Wednesday, Miller said he would “reluctantly” support the Senate bill.
The 184-bed hospital is expected to replace an outdated World War II-era facility in Denver. But the project is already $1 billion over budget and includes what even the VA’s leadership has called “extravagant features,” including a $100 million atrium and concourse that veterans groups say is a waste of resources.