09.30.15

Gardner Speaks on Senate Floor About Aurora VA Hospital

“This bill will allow us to finish the job”

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke earlier this afternoon on the Senate floor after the House of Representatives passed what should be the final spending authorization bill required to complete construction of the Aurora VA Hospital.

In his remarks, Senator Gardner applauded the passage of the authorization, thanked his colleagues for their support, and encouraged the President to sign the bill into law as quickly as possible. He emphasized the importance of delivering on this promise to our veterans, and his reiterated his continued focus on holding the VA accountable for the unacceptable delays and cost overruns which have plagued the project.

RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

Today marks a pivotal day for veterans in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region.

Just minutes ago the House of Representatives approved a Senate bill to extend several important authorizations to Coloradans. Authorizations important to the healthcare of our country’s veterans, because the bill includes authorization to complete the Denver VA replacement medical facility.

After years of persistence, years of passion, years of emotion, we have finally, finally passed a bill to finish the job at the Denver VA replacement facility in Aurora, Colorado.                             

This bill will allow us to finish the job, allowing the replacement facility to move forward that’s critical for the care of veterans in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region, fulfill the promise that we have made to our veterans.

This bill also turns the page on the gross mismanagement by the VA of this project and will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to take over the management of the project to ensure its competition without further delay.

There is simply no acceptable excuse for how the project ended up in this current state; years delayed, hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.

And while the bill will turn the page on this day, it will not turn our focus away from reforms at the VA to ensure accountability and to ensure this never happens again. I’ve worked with a number of my colleagues to initiate these reforms, including an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that will get the VA out of the big construction business.

I come to the floor today to say thank you. Thank you to my colleagues, specifically Senator Isakson, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Kirk, Senator Tester, the Majority Leader, and their staff, my colleague Michael Bennet for their leadership on this issue and of course none of this would have been possible without the incredible work of Mike Coffman, Congressman representing the area, Ed Perlmutter, and the entire Colorado delegation who worked so hard to make this happen. They’ve all provided a great service to veterans in passing this legislation out of the House today.

Mr. President, years from now, when Veterans go to this hospital to receive the care that we have promised, they will enter into what will be the crown jewel of the VA infrastructure, the crown jewel of the VA system. It took a lot of hard work to get here, and today I am excited with the passage of the house bill, passage of the senate, a bill is on its way to the President to finish the job to complete the hospital, and to fulfill our promise.

Mr. President I yield the floor.                                                                                          

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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 the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

 

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