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Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. First of all, I want to thank the chairman, my colleague from Texas, for putting together this critical bill. I know that Mr. Culberson has been a longtime advocate for the best care possible for our Nation's veterans, and I thank the chairman of the subcommittee for his continued leadership and, of course, that of the ranking member, my Georgia colleague, Mr. Bishop.

Madam Chair, I rise today to bring attention to the recent tragic events at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. According to an April report by the inspector general and continued news stories, mismanagement and lack of oversight at the Atlanta facility contributed to at least four deaths. Additionally, the Atlanta VA Medical Center has admitted that the combination of a large volume of patients and a lack of appropriate tracking has led to patients ``slipping through the cracks.''

The mental health unit at the Atlanta VA Medical Center has been of particular concern and is at the center of these recent tragedies. Mental health is a critical component of care for our veterans, and as our soldiers continue to return home from war, we must ensure that they're receiving the attention and care that they deserve.

I would ask that as this bill moves forward, Madam Chair, to the Senate and to conference, that the chairman and the ranking member join me and the chairman of the authorizing committee to get answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs as to why we have yet to see those responsible held accountable and what changes the Atlanta VA Medical Center is going to make.

And I ask that question of the subcommittee chair.


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