Comey confirmed the bureau's involvement during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. Officials previously made clear that federal prosecutors were helping in an inspector general investigation, but the probe by Phoenix FBI agents marks a new phase.
The additional probe comes as internal audits show the expanding scope of the scandal where thousands of military veterans endured long wait times for VA medical care, and VA officials apparently covered up those wait times in order to make their internal numbers look better.
Lawmakers were moving on a separate track on Capitol Hill to address the scandal. The Senate was poised to vote by Thursday on a measure making it easier for veterans who have encountered delays getting initial visits to receive VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead. The measure closely resembles a bill approved unanimously Tuesday in the House, prompting optimism among lawmakers from both parties that a compromise version could be on its way soon to President Barack Obama for his signature.
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