Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my amendment regarding the St. Albans VA hopsital in New York.
This bipartisan amendment, supported by my friend Peter King, seeks to immediately stop the Enhanced Use Lease Process for the St. Albans VA in my district while supporting the veterans' desire for a full service hospital. Sadly the VA's proposal will not provide this for them.
The plan proposed the Veterans Administration ignores the views of the veterans in my community and across Metropolitan New York. It is a sharp stick in the eye to the 400,000 veterans in Metropolitan New York who have bravely served this country in every conflict since World War II.
Instead of working with the community, the VA obdurately endorses a plan that would lease public, federal government land that belongs to veterans to a private developer to create high-density residential and retail developments. This is an abuse and gross misuse of the federal government's land against the wishes and needs of the brave men and women, many of whom are returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, who deserve first-class facilities. Needless to say, the VA's misguided leasing plans to private developers would preclude there ever being a full service hospital to provide our veterans quality care.
These courageous veterans deserve more. They have demonstrated patriotism by fighting for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and when they return, we should provide the best facilities possible to address their medical issues. To not take into account their needs is a disservice to our brave men and women in uniform.
To oppose my amendment is to oppose the wishes and needs of 400,000 veterans. This land belongs to the veterans and it should not be used for any other purpose than to support their healthcare rights. Therefore, I ask you to support my amendment and stop the EUL process at St. Albans VA.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker