Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) issued the following statement today regarding the mark up of the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Act in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee:
“We need to make sure we’re consistently investing in the VA to build the innovative, 21st Century agency that will serve a new generation of veterans. I firmly believe that we need a process for the VA to address aging infrastructure and close facilities that are outdated or are no longer serving veterans’ needs.
“However, I have serious concerns about the process being put forth in this bill. Our veterans’ needs change over time, and the VA must have the flexibility to respond to that in a nimble fashion. A continuous, ongoing effort to review and update infrastructure would be more responsive to this dynamic.
“Furthermore, closing outdated facilities is only one half of the equation. We also need to ensure that when a facility closes, the VA has a plan for serving veterans in that area going forward – whether that’s a smaller facility or relocating a facility. To help address this, I introduced an amendment to the bill today to break down the bureaucratic barriers we face when authorizing new VA medical facility leases. I was pleased that Chairman Roe committed to working with me to address this issue once and for all. It is essential that we bring renewed attention to this critical health care issue for veterans, and find a bipartisan way forward.”