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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – After months of deliberation the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission today released its final recommendation for Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Anthony Principi. The CARES Commission has recommended that the Vancouver VA facility remain open.

In discussing the VISN 20 recommendations from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs which included the potential closure of the Vancouver VA facility, the CARES Commission does not concur with the draft informal plan for Vancouver. The Commission recommends Vancouver maintain its mission which is a full service facility. The Commission went on to recommend that the VA “explore options to expand Vancouver’s function, particularly with regard to relocating services from the Portland VA Medical Center.”

“The CARES Commission is doing the right thing for our veterans by rejecting the closure of the Vancouver facility. Soldiers from Southwest Washington can rest assured that when they return home from Iraq and Afghanistan they will have the services they need here in Vancouver,” Senator Murray said. “Clearly, the CARES Commission saw firsthand that the Vancouver VA facility is an important asset with strong support from the community and Southwest Washington veterans.”

"The Vancouver facility plays a vital role in serving the needs of our veterans community. The commission's decision to keep the Vancouver clinic open is a great example of how strong local input can positively impact federal decisions. Our voices were heard. This is a victory for Vancouver veterans and the community as a whole," Senator Cantwell said.

"The CARES commission's decision is a testament to the strength of our veterans and their support in our community," said Rep. Baird. "When news first broke of the possible closure, we banded together with local veterans and their families, Senators Murray and Cantwell, Mayor Royce Pollard and members of the community to show the VA how vital this facility is to our region. I hope Secretary Principi will accept this recommendation and keep this essential facility open."

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