10.16.20

Gardner Announces Push for VA Hospital in Colorado Springs

VA Secretary agrees Colorado needs more VA resources, citing population growth of veterans in the state

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today a push to establish a Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in Colorado Springs to increase access to timely services for Colorado veterans. This announcement followed a meeting with the leadership of the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie in Aurora.

“Today Secretary Wilkie and I met with the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Center in Aurora to discuss ways to improve care for veterans in Colorado, and I firmly believe one of the ways we can achieve increased access to services, especially with the projections for rapid growth in the veteran population in El Paso County, is through a VA Hospital in Colorado Springs,” said Senator Gardner. “I am forever grateful to our nation’s men and women who served in uniform and will always fight to ensure they receive access to the quality care they deserve.”

Secretary Wilkie agreed with Gardner that Colorado needs more VA resources, citing the population growth of veterans in the state.

Background: Senator Gardner led the effort for the completion of the VA Hospital in Aurora:

  • In Gardner’s first month in the U.S. Senate, he teamed up with fellow members of the Colorado delegation to introduce the Aurora VA Hospital Financing and Construction Reform Act of 2015, and much of the language Gardner authored was later included in legislation that provided funding to the Aurora hospital.
  • Gardner was instrumental in pressing for the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to hold a field hearing in Colorado in April of 2015. 
  • In May 2015, Gardner worked to garner support for the passage of a short-term funding bill that would allow construction to continue after the project ran out of money.
  • In September of 2015, the project once again was threatened to be shut down in the face of cost overruns. Gardner again secured the funding required to complete the hospital by working with leadership in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
  • In July 2018, Gardner attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rocky Mountain VA Medical Center in Aurora. 

Senator Gardner has made it a priority to improve veterans services and ease the transition to civilian life:

  • Gardner launched his VA Readiness Initiative in February 2019 to ensure the government is always ready to assist veterans and prepared to fulfill the promises our country has made them.
  • In February, 2020 the President signed S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, bipartisan legislation that included Gardner’s language directing the U.S. Government Accountability Office to study the barriers student veterans face when pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
  • In January 2020, The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed Gardner’s bipartisanVeterans Improved Access and Care Act to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable to a higher standard for hiring process timelines. 
  • The Senate unanimously passed Gardner’s bipartisan VA Provider Accountability Act in December 2019, which would bring much-needed accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • In November 2019, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed the bipartisan Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act, introduced by Senators Gardner and Bennet to help ease the transition back to civilian life for service members and connect veterans with jobs in the rapidly expanding energy sector.
  • In June 2019, Gardner introduced the Veterans Small Business Ownership Improvements Act to protect and enhance entrepreneurship training for service members, veterans, and their families.
  • Gardner reintroduced the bipartisan Improving Preparation and Resources for Occupational, Vocational, and Educational (IMPROVE) Transition for Servicemembers Act in May 2019 to provide pre-separation counseling, training and assistance to servicemembers returning to civilian live and their families.
  • Gardner and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced the Hire Student Veterans Act in February 2019, which would expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit to ensure all student veterans using their GI benefits can take advantage of valuable paid internships or work opportunities while in school.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.