WASHINGTON – In response to H.R. 4243, the “Veterans Affairs Asset and Infrastructure Review Act of 2017,” 22 labor organizations co-signed a letter delivered to Congress on Monday urging members to reject the bill. The organizations – led by the American Federation of Government Employees – represent veterans in both government and the private sector, and warned representatives of the “grave threat to the survival of the VA’s excellent, specialized, integrated health care system.”
H.R. 4243 was introduced earlier this month by House Committee of Veterans Affairs Chairman Rep. Phil Roe, and calls for a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process that would strip Congress of its oversight of VA facilities.
According to the letter, “If H.R. 4243 becomes law, Members of Congress will lose their ability to fight for the interests of veterans and all other constituents in their communities who cherish and depend on their VA medical centers for medical care and a broad array of other services. In addition, VA medical centers provide good jobs for returning veterans and economic stimulus for local businesses.”
The letter went on to say that “the BRAC process has absolutely no place in veterans’ health care,” and that “Every dollar diverted to private care is one less dollar that the VA desperately needs to retain its capacity to be the primary provider of coordinated care,” to our nation’s veterans.
“We urge you to oppose H.R. 4243 so that Members of Congress can continue to fight for what veterans want and deserve by putting more doctors and nurses bedside and in the clinics, and allowing the VA to continue to deliver and coordinate exemplary and cost-effective veteran-centric car,” said the groups.
Joining AFGE in co-authoring the letter were: the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Federal Education Association/National Education Association (FEA/NEA), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD), Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA), National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO), Patent Office Professional Association (POPA), Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), United Power Trades Organization (UPTO), and the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO.
To see the letter in its entirety, please visit https://www.afge.org/nohr4243