The VIPER Act has garnered some progress last week as it moved through the house by roll call vote at the request by Virginia Congressman, Rep. Bob Good. The bill passed the house with a final vote of 381-39. It now heads to the Senate where NAVREF will be working closely with the Senate VA Committee leadership to bringing the bill to the final steps of becoming law.
The VIPER Act was first introduced in October 2021 and aims to improve the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program by providing additional authority and resources for VA research.
The legislation would add stability and efficiency for the VA research program by formally authorizing VA’s Office of Research and Development and excluding VA research from the Paperwork Reduction Act requirements, better aligning VA with other federal research agencies. The VIPER Act will also work to enhance the diversity of the VA research workforce, increasing scientific opportunities and leading to improved health care for veterans.
The bill also includes provisions to:
- End the Section 209 interpretation by the DOJ.
- Expand the VA’s hiring authority for certain classes of research occupations, including data scientists and statisticians.
- Create a career development award grant program for researchers at smaller universities.
- Mandate a Government Accountability Office study on the retention of VA clinician-scientists and the productivity of their research.