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Letter to Peter Gaytan, Stewart Hickey, Barry Jesinoski, Robert Wallace, and Homer Townsend Jr. - Join Push for VA Clinics

Peter S. Gaytan
Executive Director
The American Legion
1608 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Stewart Hickey
National Executive Director
4647 Forbes Boulevard
Lanham, MD 20706

Barry A. Jesinoski
Executive Director
Disabled American Veterans
807 Maine Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Robert E. Wallace
Executive Director
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
200 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Homer S. Townsend, Jr.
Executive Director
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Dear Veteran Leaders:

We write you to urge you to express your support for quick Senate passage of H.R. 3521, legislation to improve veterans' local medical access through VA-leased community-based outpatient clinics. Your vocal support for this legislation is essential and would help solve this unconscionable problem, and without your support this legislative fix will continue to languish in the Senate because of one United States Senator.

In June 2013, you wrote House and Senate leaders, calling delays in Congressional authorization of these proposed clinics "unacceptable" and warning that inaction harms more than 340,000 wounded, injured and ill veterans in 22 states who must travel further, wait longer or "go without needed treatment."

The House of Representatives responded by passing H.R. 3521 last year by a vote of 346-1. In the Senate, Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has publicly blocked three attempts to pass H.R. 3521 by unanimous consent, insisting that it may only move as part of his larger veterans' package that was defeated under a budget point of order rule in February (S. 1982).
We implore you to marshal all of your resources to prevent H.R. 3521 from dying at the end of the year. Veterans should not be forced to wait for care because of disagreements over unrelated provisions. There is very broad bi-cameral and bi-partisan support for this legislation. We are confident that your advice will encourage Chairman Sanders to abandon his all-or-nothing, hostage taking approach.

Louisiana veterans have waited more than two years for promised clinics, and Washington should not deprive them of needed care. Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your reply.

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