As a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Rep. Corrine Brown questioned witnesses from the VA and Brasfield & Gorrie, the General Contractor in charge of the construction of the Orlando VA Medical Center, and made the following statement:
"Central Florida has waited for over 25 years for the VA to build a VA Medical Center. Twenty five years is simply way too long for the men and women who have defended this country and the freedoms it holds dear., and much too long for the oldest veteran population to have to wait for proper care," Brown stated.
"When Jesse Brown was the Secretary of the VA under President Clinton," Brown continued, "he visited Orlando and I convinced him that he needed to keep the hospital at the base for the VA, and I hope we can keep that clinic to augment the services here at the Medical Center."
"However, that clinic was never adequate to serve the veteran population of the Central Florida region," she said. The new facility will include 134 inpatient beds, 120 bed community-living-center, 60 bed domiciliary, outpatient and support programs.
"With the reports of numerous problems at the worksite with the workers and the roof, I have had enough, and I have never been involved in a hearing where we are discussing just one single project. Do not be mistaken, this is a political hearing. It is time to put politics aside and for the VA and Brasfield & Gorrie to get to work and complete this Medical Center.
"A delay in opening this facility cannot be allowed to happen. The hundreds of jobs that are tied up in this facility and the thousands of veterans who will receive services here cannot wait for the VA to fix "errors and omissions in the original design, changes in medical equipment and equipment procurement delays and contractor related issues.'
"I do not want to have to wait another one, two or any number of years for this Medical Center to open. I want it open now," Brown concluded.