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Legislation requires VA Secretary to grant waivers for projects approved prior to Build America, Buy America enactment

WASHINGTON -U.S. Senator Jim Risch introduced legislation to ensure Idaho’s veterans’ facilities can update their facilities as intended. The Waiving Arbitrary and Inconsistent Veteran home Eligibility Requirements (WAIVER) Act, introduced today, is a legislative fix to the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA). Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) joined Risch in introducing the bill, and U.S. Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) introduced the House companion bill.

The WAIVER Act will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) award waivers for veterans’ health and housing facilities that were granted permission to proceed with their projects prior to the enactment of BABAA in 2022. Most federal agencies previously granted waivers to BABAA for projects that predated the legislation’s enactment. The VA indicated it intended to grant these waivers as well, and it previously awarded two, but has since indicated it has no intention to grant others

Without the WAIVER Act, multiple facilities nationwide, including three in Idaho, would either await a waiver the VA Secretary is unlikely to grant for exemption to BABAA, rework their initial plans, which would include additional costs footed by taxpayers and state governments, or abandon the projects completely. 

“America’s veterans have waited far too long for updated facilities in Idaho and around the country. Due to the VA Secretary choosing to selectively apply requirements, veterans will wait longer and it will cost taxpayers more money for needed facility updates,” said Risch. “The WAIVER Act will push the VA to be consistent with other agencies, advance American manufacturing and production in the best way possible, protect taxpayer dollars, and enable state veterans’ homes to move forward with important, planned projects to help America’s veterans.”

“The VA needs to stop playing politics with Idaho’s heroes,” said Fulcher. “The VA promised Idaho a waiver to build and remodel these homes, and I intend to make them keep their word.”

“America’s veterans have given everything to preserve our freedom.  Arbitrary delays to updating the facilities that provide them needed services will only cause more problems,” said Crapo. “This bill would require the VA to grant the necessary waivers it should have already issued for Idaho’s State Veteran Home projects, allowing the projects to move forward without further interruption so our veterans can continue to receive the services they have earned.” 

“Congress approved funding for construction and upgrades at VA facilities to better care for the needs of veterans,” said Boozman. “It’s important for the VA to follow through with this commitment and continue making improvements to health and housing accommodations in a timely, cost-effective manner so we can fulfill the promises made to those who served in our nation’s uniform. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Risch to create a solution to advance these projects and deliver the services and care veterans earned.”

Nationwide, projects in at least 13 states—Idaho, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington—will be affected by a lack of BABAAwaivers.  


  • Creates a legislative fix to the Build America, Buy America Act;

  • Requires the VA to issue waivers for veterans’ home projects approved prior to April 2022;

  • Ensures state veterans’ home projects do not lose critical funding;

  • Encourages a continued commitment to American products where possible through the Build America, Buy America Act; and

  • Advocates for responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

The legislation is supported by multiple veterans groups, including the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the National Association of State Veterans Homes.