WASHINGTON - Sens. Robert P. Casey and Pat Toomey called Wednesday for an audit of every regional Veterans Affairs office nationwide - the latest round of scrutiny aimed at an agency already facing sharp questions for its management in Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Under a bill unveiled by Pennsylvania's two senators and supported by members of a bipartisan working group cochaired by Casey, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office would be required to review regional VA offices within a year of passage for "consistency" in decision-making, and to find and share best practices at facilities that are doing well.

Their bill also requires management training in regional offices, a review of whether incremental deadlines for handling veterans' claims are being enforced, and regular public disclosures of the number of claims pending for longer than 125 days.

The proposal comes as the Philadelphia regional benefits office and others have been probed over alleged mismanagement and employee misconduct, including claims that workers manipulated agency data to disguise a potential backlog in processing veterans' benefit claims.

Casey, a Democrat, said that the VA had made progress reducing the backlog and the time it takes to handle claims, but that more needs to be done.

He expressed frustration that his office has received calls from veterans saying some claims take as long as two years to process.

In the Philadelphia regional office, the average claim in the current fiscal year has taken 250 days to complete, as of April 6, according to a report released by the senators. That's the fourth-worst among the VA's 56 regional offices, said the report from the nine-member working group, cochaired by Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.).

The office has also been described as having a toxic culture, where distrust between management and staff hurts the service provided to veterans.

A report issued by the VA inspector general last month found widespread problems in the Philadelphia office, including evidence that more than 31,000 veteran inquiries had languished for months and that thousands of pieces of mail from veterans had been marked unidentifiable despite containing phone numbers or return addresses.

The VA has said it has addressed most of the problems identified by the inspectors.

Solving the problems faced by veterans, Casey said, falls "under the category of: Whatever. It. Takes."

Speaking at a news conference at the Capitol, he said that if lawmakers can't find the money to improve the process, "we might as well not have a federal government."

Toomey, a Republican, said their bill includes ideas aimed at improving the accuracy and quality of claims submissions and making sure they are handled faster and more accurately.

Heller said the sponsors have been promised a committee hearing on their bill next week.

The measure would also mandate annual reviews of the VA's capacity for processing claims and an assessment of whether it needs more employees, as well as require a biannual update on the VA's transition to a paperless system.

While lawmakers backing the plan worried about backlogs, they also said progress has been made and struck a generally mild tone.

"This isn't a witch hunt," Heller said. "Just an opportunity for us to open their books and take a look at it. If there are ways for improvement, we're all for it."

A spokesman for the VA, James Hutton, said the agency needed to review the bill before taking a position on it.