(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On Monday, April 12, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will chair a regional field hearing in Walla Walla to investigate the Administration's handling of the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) process and the Commission's recommendations for the VA facilities in Washington state.
"Washington state veterans who will be affected by federal decisions deserve to have their voices heard and this hearing will give them that opportunity," Murray said. "The Administration needs to understand that Washington's veterans are real people, not just statistics."
Murray, a longtime veterans' advocate and senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, requested the hearing last month during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. In February, the CARES Commission forwarded its final report to VA Secretary Anthony Principi calling for expanded services in Vancouver and closure of inpatient beds in Walla Walla. The American Lake VA Medical Center in Tacoma was previously removed from the potential closure list following conversations between Murray and Principi.
Murray's April 12th field hearing will specifically take a closer look at the consequences of the recommendation to close the Walla Walla VA hospital.
The Committee will hear testimony from regional veterans' advocates and service providers.
Murray has made special arrangements to collect comments from all veterans affected by the CARES initiative.
"I want to hear from all our veterans, so if you can't attend the hearing, please use the special form I've created on my webpage", Murray said. "Your comments can help me make the case for the services our veterans deserve."
WHAT: Field Hearing on VA CARES initiative and the closure of Walla Walla VA
WHEN: MONDAY, April 12, 2004, 1:00 pm
WHERE: Walla Walla Community College Conference Center, Walla Walla, WA