Veterans in South Louisiana continue to experience frustrations brought on by the VA's incompetence and lack of communication. This behavior has led to avoidable delays regarding the opening of the South Louisiana Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. Now there are discrepancies surrounding information VA officials give to local veterans receiving treatment, the deadline date for the Solicitation for Offers, and the final "net usable' square footage for a clinic. As you can imagine, the veterans have grave concerns on all of these issues and need clarity moving forward.
I've outlined the grievances brought to my attention in a letter, and I seek detailed answers on these matters directly from Secretary Shinseki. In addition, I've repeated my request for the Secretary to meet with local veterans to discuss promised completion of the clinics. The habitual ineffectiveness of the VA to communicate with the veterans of South Louisiana will not be tolerated by my office. Our nation owes veterans a debt of gratitude not broken promises.
Today, the Bureau of Labor statistics released the latest national unemployment numbers. For the 43rd consecutive month, the national unemployment rate has topped eight percent. This Administration's misguided policies fail to create job opportunities for hard-working American families. Instead, short-term fixes, like the so-called "stimulus plan,' failed miserably while coming at a very expensive cost to the American taxpayer. More government interference with increased regulations have prevented job creators from hiring workers while contributing to our national debt surpassing $16 trillion earlier this week.
The only way "forward' with this Administration leads straight to the unemployment line. Washington must make tough decisions. Senate Democrats must avoid allowing politics to dictate policy. House Republicans have passed numerous measures to not only encourage job growth and creation but to produce domestic energy and cut spending in order to stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, these bills continue to languish in the Senate, untouched.
September is National Rice Month. Rice grown on Louisiana soil makes the United States the world's fourth largest rice exporter. Towns like Crowley, home of the International Rice Festival, "where life is rice and easy," serve as a testament to the role South Louisiana plays in making rice such a valued commodity. I'm proud to recognize September as National Rice Month.
This past week, I was awarded the American Farm Bureau Federation's "Friend of Farm Bureau" congressional award based on my stellar voting record.
Being recognized by the Louisiana Farm Bureau and the Board of Directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation is a tremendous honor, and I am extremely pleased to receive this recognition from the agricultural community. It plays such a pivotal role in South Louisiana's culture as it not only provides many jobs for hard-working families but also ships our local goods to every corner of the world. Our producers grow rice, sugar cane, soybeans, and other commodities in South Louisiana, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to support this industry in Washington. I am honored to receive this award, and I look forward to continue supporting the District and its agricultural community with my vote for many years to come.
Charles W. Boustany, Jr. M.D.
Member of Congress