WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bill aimed at helping veterans avoid long waits for health care.

The legislation is a response to reports of veterans dying while awaiting appointments to see Veterans Affairs doctors and of a widespread practice of employees covering up long wait times.

The bill makes it easier for veterans to get government-paid health care from local doctors and allows the veterans affairs department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other professionals. It also rewrites employment rules to make it easier to fire officials judged to be negligent or performing poorly.

Congress approved the $16.3 billion measure last week before taking a five-week recess. 

Obama is scheduled to sign the bill Thursday morning at fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Congressman David Jolly was on AM Tampa Bay Thursday morning. Listen to his audio below...

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