Chairman Takano: "Voting against this legislation would mean turning our backs on our most sacred promise to our nation’ veterans"
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif) delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the Build Back Better Act of 2021.
Full video of Chairman Takano’s remarks
Chairman Takano’s remarks as prepared:
I rise today in support of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs' contribution to the Build Back Better Act of 2021.
The Committee has an important responsibility to advance measures that support veterans and honor their service and sacrifice, as well as that of their families, caregivers, and survivors. Last week we celebrated Veterans Day, the Build Back Better Act is the perfect way to continue to show our gratitude with a concrete, meaningful investment for all veterans. By making this critical investment in VA, we can start rebuilding VA’s capacity in terms of brick-and-mortar infrastructure, human capital, and the support structures that serve our nation’s veterans.
I have a difficult time believing that my colleagues across the aisle think veterans are unworthy of this investment. The fact is, veterans from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Beaufort, South Carolina, and from Columbia, Missouri, to Clarksville, Tennessee, among other districts, stand to directly benefit from these resources.
The most impactful piece in this legislation is the 1.8 billion dollars for medical facilities leases that fixes a long-standing backlog of lease authorizations. Take a look at VA’s budget book – at the list of leases - you will see it largely benefits Republican districts. Do my Republican colleagues not want VA facilities and clinics in their districts? I don’t believe that for one moment, and I know they’ll attend ribbon cutting ceremonies and issue press releases when these facilities open.
Voting against this legislation would not only mean turning our backs on our most sacred promise to our nation’ veterans but would be a striking departure for many of my Republican colleagues who have long advocated for these investments.
As demand for care and services at VA continues to grow, the lack of purposeful, usable clinic space will hurt veterans, including women veterans, because clinic spaces are not designed for them. A lack of access to health care providers will hurt veterans because we simply do not have enough providers in this country. Making investments in the next generation of health care providers is just commonsense.
I’ll end by saying nearly three-fourths of Americans agree that it is time to update VA’s infrastructure—The Build Back Better Act gives us the framework to begin that effort.
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