A bipartisan committee of federal lawmakers unveiled a compromise proposal Monday to correct problems in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which has been engulfed in scandal over long wait times for veterans’ health care and efforts to conceal the problem.

The committee includes U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, who predicted bipartisan support and the backing of veterans.

The bill includes $17 billion in new funding for the VA, roughly a third of which must be offset by cuts within the current VA budget. Most of the money would be used to expand capacity within the VA health care system and allow more veterans facing long-term delays to receive care at private clinics. The bill also sets up a yearlong process of evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the VA with an eye toward structural reform.

“We’ve been able to get a lot done in this bill. I am very confident that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support the compromise,” Michaud said Monday morning in an interview in Portland. “It’s something I know veterans in Maine will be very proud of and very happy to see Congress enact.”

Richard Fournier, commander of the Disabled American Veterans of Maine, said he needed to read the bill before offering a reaction. He was concerned that previous versions of the bill were not clear about who decides when, and under what circumstances, a veteran can go to a private doctor.

“They’re not just going to let anybody go see anybody they want, otherwise they’ll lose control and that may hurt more than help,” Fournier said.

Problems in the VA came to light this spring when a whistleblower claimed VA officials in Phoenix were concealing long wait times for care by keeping secret lists. The Office of the Inspector General revealed that 1,700 veterans were not on an official waiting list in Phoenix, and at least 18 died while awaiting care.

Details of the compromise were announced Monday afternoon at a news conference in Washington held by the conference committee co-chairs, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida.

Michaud, the Democratic candidate for governor, serves on the conference committee that has been trying for weeks to reconcile VA reform bills that have been passed by the House and Senate. The committee was expected to approve the compromise quickly and send the bill to Congress.

The bill includes roughly $6.5 billion in funding to hire more doctors and nurses within the VA and pay to lease 27 new clinics in 18 states. Maine would not get a new clinic, Michaud said.

The bill also provides $10 billion to pay for eligible veterans to seek non-VA care if they have waited more than 30 days for an appointment or if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility.

Another provision, first proposed by Michaud, would increase accountability among VA staff. It would make it easier to fire not only senior VA officials, but also doctors and physicians, known as Title 38 employees, some of whom were implicated in the Phoenix scandal and one in Florida.

Both Sanders and Miller shared Michaud’s optimism that the comprise would receive bipartisan support before Congress adjourns Thursday.

Miller pointed to his background in sales when asked during a news conference how he would convince House Republicans, who are reluctant to support spending increases without accompanying budget cuts, to support the bill.

“Obviously, some of our members will need more educating than others,” Miller said.

Michaud, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, was campaigning in Maine over the weekend, but said he was “very active” in the compromise. He flew back to Washington Monday morning, rather than participate in a rally held by the Maine Democratic Party and headlined by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads the Democratic National Committee.

Michaud’s opponents in the governor’s race, independent Eliot Cutler and Republican Gov. Paul LePage, reacted differently to the compromise.

Cutler expressed hope that veterans would receive needed care, while LePage’s campaign attacked Michaud.

“I’m glad for Maine veterans that Congress has finally found the will to deal with this crisis, and I hope that all veterans, here and across the country, will now get the prompt, high-quality care they are entitled to receive,” Cutler said in a written statement.

Brent Littlefield, LePage’s political consultant, accused Michaud of “being asleep at the switch” by letting the problems within the VA fester.

“Michael Michaud is using the code word ‘compromise’ in an effort to hide his partial responsibility for the veterans’ care crisis,” Littlefield said in an email. “Michael Michaud had one of the worst veterans disasters in American history build on his watch.”

Michaud argues it was the committee’s oversight that brought the issues to light. Systemic reforms are needed to fully correct the problems at the VA, he said.

Last week, Michaud met with Bob McDonald, who has been nominated to replace Eric Shinseki as the head of the VA. Shinseki resigned as VA secretary May 30, and Michaud expects McDonald to be confirmed this week.

Michaud said McDonald was receptive to his ideas about reforming the VA structure, mainly by breaking down barriers between the benefits and health administrations.

“I’m excited about that,” Michaud said. “He has really taken a keen interest in making sure the VA is an efficient VA that will deliver the services we have to our veterans in the most cost-effective way.”