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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big John Cornyn - Went to Washington and Showed 'Em How Its Done

Bring home the earmarks ... Big John.

Now, rather than follow the VA's program for rural areas or follow the GOP-Tea's sometime plan to shift military care from the VA to private care, we have Senators building facilities and making "findings":

SA 4639. Mr. CORNYN (for himself and Mrs. Hutchison) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 3454, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the end of subtitle G of title X, add the following:


(a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The current and future health care needs of veterans residing in the Far South Texas area are not being fully met by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 117,000 veterans reside in Far South Texas.

[Page: S7294] GPO's PDF

(3) In its Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services study, the Department of Veterans Affairs found that fewer than three percent of its enrollees in the Valley-Coastal Bend Market of Veterans Integrated Service Network 17 reside within its acute hospital access standards.

(4) Travel times for veterans from the market referred to in paragraph (3) can exceed six hours from their residences to the nearest Department of Veterans Affairs hospital for acute inpatient health care.

(5) Even with the significant travel times, veterans from Far South Texas demonstrate a high demand for health care services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(6) Current deployments involving members of the Texas National Guard and Reservists from Texas will continue to increase demand for medical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(b) Construction of Major Medical Facility in Far South Texas.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out the construction of a major medical facility project in Far South Texas consisting of a full service Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.

(2) FACILITY LOCATION.--The facility referred to in paragraph (1) shall be located in a county in Far South Texas that the Secretary determines to be most appropriate to meeting the health care needs of veterans in Far South Texas.

(3) REPORT.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report identifying and outlining the determination of the Secretary under paragraph (2) and a detailed estimate of the cost of and time necessary for completion of the project required by paragraph (1).

(c) Definition.--In this section, the term ``Far South Texas'' means the following counties of the State of Texas: Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Crockett, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Goliad, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Victoria, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata.

(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2011 for the Construction, Major Projects account such sums as may be necessary for the project required by subsection (b).