Bipartisan Group Of Congressmen Urge VA To Keep Their Offices Open

Spokane VA Medical Center

Spokane VA Medical Center

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers is urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to reverse its decision to close their offices at two Florida VA medical centers.

Republican Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) says veterans have been getting a great benefit from the services he and others offer.

"Without spending one additional dollar, we provide veterans with more access to care, more services and more oversight."

Mast shares his office at the West Palm Beach VA with three other members of the House, all Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democrat Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) and Darren Soto (FL-9) share an office at the Orlando VA.

Soto says they have all invited VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to visit those offices in hopes he changes his mind.

"The thought is if we could get Secretary Wilkie down to the Orlando VA or perhaps to the Palm Beach County VA as well, that he'll see the good work going on there."

Soto says it was a lengthy process to get that office open.

"What we found is we had to wait six months because the leasing group for the VA only meets twice a year, which first gave me a red flag that this process needed to be revamped."

That's why the legislators have filed a bill in the House to streamline the process for all members of the House to be able to easily open Congressional offices at VA hospitals across the nation.

Murphy says the office she shares with Soto has served hundreds of veterans.

"Nearly a quarter of all of my constituent case work is on behalf of veterans and on veterans' issues. We have a large population of veterans in Central Florida and these offices help us serve them."

The VA says it needs the space being used by the congressmen for medical services, but the lawmakers say their offices don't take up much space.

As it stands, the Congressional offices are expected to close by the end of the year.

Photo: Getty Images

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