Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15) introduced a bill that will require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the South Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Harlingen, Texas includes a full-service Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient health care facility. Congressman Hinojosa was joined in filing this bill by Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Filemon Vela, whose district includes the City of Harlingen.
"We will continue to fight along with our veterans for a full service hospital in the Rio Grande Valley," Congressman Hinojosa said. "It is simply outrageous that our veterans have to travel for hours to a full service veteran's hospital in San Antonio. It is a hardship not only for our veterans but for their families as well. We need a full service veteran's hospital in south Texas now!"
Co-Sponsor to the bill, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) added, "Since I first entered Congress I have advocated for 'healthcare close to home' for our veterans. As the veterans' community rapidly grows in South Texas, the urgency of having an accessible, full-service VA hospital is crucial. I will continue to work hard until the health care needs of our veterans are met. I look forward to working as a team with Congressmen Filemon Vela and Ruben Hinojosa on these efforts. "
Co-sponsor Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34) noted, "Our nation's veterans make great sacrifices, and we owe them health care and benefits that honor their service. I strongly support the establishment of a full VA hospital in South Texas, and I have joined Congressman Hinojosa's legislative effort to expand the Harlingen VA clinic to provide inpatient care."
The bills current name is the "Meeting the Inpatient Health Care Needs of Far South Texas Veterans Act of 2013". The bill outlines the necessity of a full service, inpatient hospital. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates over 100 thousand veterans reside in Far South Texas. Travel time for our veterans to receive acute inpatient hospital care can sometimes exceed 6 hours.
Congressman Hinojosa added, "South Texas is home to many brave and patriotic military members who have served or who are currently serving and fighting for our freedom. With one war over and the other dwindling down, many are returning home. We should give them what they deserve and part of that is having the best medical care facility this nation has to offer. I along with my colleagues in Congress will not give up this fight."
Below is a list of the current co-sponsors of the "Meeting the Inpatient Health Care Needs of Far South Texas Veterans Act of 2013"
U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar
U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego
U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke
U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez
U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey
U.S. Rep. Fillemon Vela