Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks Amendment to H.R. 2055 (St. Albans Veterans Campus) Passes on House Floor

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012 passed in the House of Representatives today. Included in the bill was Congressman Meeks amendment to stop the Enhanced Use Lease Process (EUL) for the St. Albans VA in the Sixth Congressional District of New York.

“The passing of this legislation with the inclusion of my bipartisan amendment is a big win for veterans in my district and veterans across Metropolitan New York. This amendment precludes the leasing of any government land at the St. Albans Veterans campus to a private developer. By having the amendment included in this bill it will prevent the fabric of my community from being destroyed by the creation of high-density residential and retail developments. This amendment brings home the point that this EUL does not meet the needs of veterans and therefore should be stopped immediately,” stated Congressman Meeks.

In addition to the hiring of a private developer for veteran owned land, this EUL process also does not plan for the inclusion of construction of a full service hospital based on a study conducted in 2004 that supposedly showed the decline of veterans in my district, but didn’t take into account the returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their needs. Veterans in the vicinity have adamantly expressed the need for a full service hospital, but the VA has chosen to ignore their wishes.

Congressman Meeks added, “The nearly 400,000 veterans in the vicinity of my district deserve to have their medical needs met with the inclusion of a full service hospital. To not take into account their needs is a disservice to our brave men and women in uniform.”
This bill will now go to the Senate for their consideration the matter and then, upon its passing, will go to the President for signature.