The full U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a provision authored by U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., "Military Mary," to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide regular updates on the progress of the Lafayette and Lake Charles veterans clinics. The provision 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 for its consideration.
"We are one step closer to making sure the promises made to veterans living in Lafayette and Lake Charles are kept," Sen. Landrieu said. "Our veterans deserve to receive high-quality health care, and this bill will make sure they are updated on the clinics' progress in a timely and transparent manner."
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 March 22 meeting hosted by Sen. Landrieu, 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.