U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., "Military Mary," today secured a provision that will require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide regular updates on the progress of the Lafayette and Lake Charles veterans clinics. The provision, passed by the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, is part of the annual appropriations bill and report that fund military construction and veterans affairs operations for FY13. The bill now moves to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for its consideration on Thursday.
"The promises made to Lafayette and Lake Charles veterans must be kept, and this is a firm way to make sure they are," Sen. Landrieu said. "These veterans have been waiting a long time to receive high-quality health care and deserve to know the clinics' progress in a timely, transparent manner. After the sacrifices our veterans have made for our nation, this is the least we can do."
The Veterans Administration announced to the Louisiana Congressional Delegation on March 9 that it made errors during the solicitation for offers to build the clinics, resulting in delays of a year or more. During a meeting on March 22 that Sen. Landrieu hosted, high-ranking VA officials committed to providing Sen. Landrieu and members of the delegation monthly status updates on the progress of the two clinics. Sen. Landrieu's provision will now require this action.
At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in March, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged to Sen. Landrieu and to Louisiana's veterans that he will do everything possible to expedite the construction of the two clinics.