U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) announced Friday that they successfully secured language in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 to help the Commonwealth of Kentucky secure land to build a new state nursing home for veterans near Fort Knox.
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved McConnell's provision late last evening. The measure calls on the Department of Defense to transfer a portion of land near Fort Knox to the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs for the purposes of building a new veterans nursing home. Senator McConnell made the initial request that the language be added to the Senate bill in late March.
"As our nation celebrates Memorial Day, we are once again reminded of the incredible sacrifice of our veterans, to whom we are so deeply indebted. I am honored to have worked with Congressman Guthrie to secure this language on their behalf," McConnell said. "By obtaining land near Fort Knox, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is one step closer to having another nursing home for the men and women who have honorably served our country. This is only the first step in the process, but I will continue to fight on behalf of our veterans, to ensure that this facility will one day be a reality."
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee approved its version of the bill, which included Congressman Guthrie's language.
"It is important we take care of those who have so bravely served for our country," Guthrie said. "I was proud to help secure this language so we can begin to move forward on a veteran's nursing home in Hardin County and better serve one of the largest veterans populations in the state."
"We are very pleased and grateful to Representative Guthrie and Senator McConnell for leading the effort to help us secure land for a new Veterans nursing home near Fort Knox," said David Worley, Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers in the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. "We have been working for five years to build a veterans nursing home near Fort Knox, where it will serve the largest numerical population of veterans in Kentucky (Jefferson County) and the largest per capita population of veterans in Kentucky (Hardin County). Today's news takes us one step closer to our goal of providing nearby nursing home services to Louisville and Fort Knox area veterans."
BACKGROUND: This action is only the first step in the process. The full Senate and House will need to consider its version the Defense Authorization bill. Once approved by both chambers and signed by the President, the Secretary of the Army will work with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to determine a suitable parcel of land to be transferred to the state. It will then be up to the state to begin the process of working with the VA to secure funding for the new facility.