Dec 11 2019
Mast Renews Call For Members of Congress To Maintain Offices In VA Facilities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today released the following statement after the Department of Justice announced corruption charges against several employees of the Miami and West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs facilities:
“It is beyond reprehensible that staff at the VA would line their own pockets with dollars intended to help veterans, and I am grateful to both the VA Inspector General and the Department of Justice for taking action. Although I know there are many amazing and talented people at the VA who cherish the opportunity to serve our veteran community selflessly, unfortunately, this is yet another example of the VA limping from scandal to scandal, and it’s exactly why the VA should be begging for increased oversight. But instead, at the end of this year, the VA will be evicting Members of Congress from their facilities—limiting the resources available to uncover issues exactly like this one. With this news, I am again calling on VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to reverse his decision so that we can work together to make the VA a more effective, transparent and accountable organization. If he refuses, I hope all 435 Members of Congress will join me in passing the Improving Veterans Access To Congressional Services Act so that Congress can help implement the culture change that the VA has been either unwilling or unable to accomplish.”
Following this news, Rep. Mast also sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie calling on him to reverse his eviction decision. That letter is attached.
Rep. Mast opened the first-ever Congressional office inside a VA facility in 2017, and the office has met with more than 500 veterans at the West Palm Beach VA since then. The office provides services to veterans, such as helping them with disability claims and benefits appeals. Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would be evicting Members of Congress from their offices inside VA facilities. Unless the Department of Veterans Affairs reverses their decision, the office will be forced to close by the end of the year. Rep. Mast has also authored a bill, called the Improving Veterans Access To Congressional Services Act, to mandate the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide this space to Members of Congress so that they can assist veterans when and where they need the help.
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