Today, we are humbled to have the opportunity to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to speak with officials and meet with as many military service members as possible to thank them for their service to our country.  

Walter Reed is one of the largest and most renowned medical facilities in the United States. It offers some of the best medical attention to our national heroes while providing outstanding customer service.  

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The men and women at Walter Reed, who have given everything for our country, will soon be discharged and become amongst our most honorable veterans. We owe it to these men and women to have the most advanced and accessible VA health care system and Walter Reed, as a military medical center, is a prime example of what VA medical centers should strive for. 

They fought for us, now we must fight for them. 

Veterans in Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and all across the country rely on access to quality health care from their local VA hospitals. Getting our veterans, service members, and their families, the health care they were promised, earned, and deserved is a top priority. 

This is why it was troubling to hear that veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, had waited more than 100 days for an appointment.  

Furthermore, reports have indicated that a year since former Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric ShinsekiEric Ken ShinsekiVA might not be able to end veteran homelessness, but we shouldn't stop trying Bill HR 2333 is a good step to helping curb veteran suicide  Senate confirms Trump's VA pick despite opposition from some Dems MORE resigned, the number of veterans waiting for health care has increased 50 percent. We are also seeing many of these national problems plague other VA hospitals across the country, such as those in Pennsylvania and Maine

Yet, the president and his administration have done nothing to help fix these issues. This isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. 

As a top priority in the House, Republicans have been working to draft and pass legislation that will help our veterans, service members and their families receive speedy access to health care.  

In February, the House unanimously passed the bipartisan Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act to ensure our veterans receive critical access to mental health care. Additionally, this life-saving bill provides $22 million to help boost mental health care resources to help prevent veteran suicide. It was great to see both chambers, House and Senate, pass this bill unanimously and have Obama sign it in to law.  

More recently, the House, again with strong bipartisan support, passed the FY16 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriation bill. This funding bill ensures the VA will be responsibly funded for Fiscal Year 2016, $904 million more than the previous year, while improving the Department’s ability to better serve our veterans. 

This appropriation bill also provides $163 million to help speed up VA claims processing while modernizing the VA electronic health record system – thereby helping our veterans receive faster and more effective service. 

Still, there is much more work to be done to hold the VA accountable for allowing veterans to slip through the cracks.  

To that end, the House is planning to take up the VA Accountability Act to ensure our veterans receive the best possible health care. This legislation will give the Veterans Affairs Secretary the authority to demote or fire employees who have poor performance standards or misconduct. This bill is another step in the right direction in ensuring our veterans never, ever, slip through the cracks again. 

As we have said before, making sure our veterans, service members and their families receive the health care they were promised, earned, and deserve is a top priority. 

We are honored and humbled by the opportunity to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and learn more about their facilities and the services they provide.

Honoring the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, members of the military, and their families is one of the greatest and proudest responsibilities as a Member of Congress.

 

Poliquin has represente Maine’s 2nd Congressional District since 2015. He sits on the Financial Services Committee. Bishop has represented Michigan’s 8th Congressional District since 2015. He sits on the Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary committees. Rouzer has represented North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District since 2015. He sits on the Agriculture and the Transportation committees.  Hardy has represented Nevada’s 4th Congressional District since He sits on the Natural Resources; the Small Business; and the Transportation committees.