Landrieu: Delays to SW La. clinics 'unacceptable'

By Special to the American Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu,

D-La., expressed frustration Thursday that procedural hurdles have

slowed the consideration

and passage of bills that would benefit military veterans.

Delays in the Comprehensive Veterans

Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act also

means a delay in

authorization of the construction of two promised veterans clinics

in Lafayette and Lake Charles — along with 25 other clinics

nationwide.

Just over two-dozen national veterans’ service organizations have written letters supporting the legislation, which Landrieu

is co-sponsoring.

“I’m frustrated that bureaucratic red tape and now congressional gridlock is preventing us from providing convenient access

to quality health care for Southwest Louisiana veterans,” Landrieu said in a news release.

“It has taken far too long to green-light these two veterans clinics in Lakes Charles and Lafayette, and the ongoing delay

is completely unacceptable.”

Last week, Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, led an effort of the entire Louisiana delegation to demand

answers from Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on the delayed completion of the clinics.

In February, Landrieu and

Boustany introduced legislation together in the Senate and the House to

green-light clinic construction

in Lake Charles and ensure the Lafayette clinic would remain open.

The bipartisan bill, the Keep Our Commitment to Veterans Act, passed the House with a near unanimous vote of 346-1, with the

entire delegation supporting it.