There are a little less than 20 legislative days before Congress starts its traditional August recess and members get the opportunity to work from home. I enjoy leaving the politics of Washington behind and doing what I love most â€“ spending time in 23rd District of Texas with constituents, community leaders, friends and family.
However, before Congress works from home, it must finish its work in Washington, D.C. Front and center for me is the VA situation. I am proud to represent the more than 50,000 veterans in the 23rd District of Texas. Our region has a proud military history dating back to the westward expansion of our country. I have worked closely with veterans groups throughout the district during the time Iâ€™ve been in office.
On the House Armed Services Committee, I see firsthand, both at home and overseas, the contributions of our men and women in uniform. They do great things even under tremendous pressure. As a nation, we must give them the tools, training, and resources necessary to win. However, our obligation does not end on the battlefield.
Veterans should not need to fight another battle here at home against an agency that is charged with taking care of them. We must not fall short of the promises made to veterans here in the U.S. Itâ€™s shameful some veterans narrowly escaped injury or death in wartime only to become casualties of neglect, bureaucracy and red tape here at home.
The VA needs a complete overhaul, but this is not an overnight process. We must get this right so current veterans and the generations to follow will not have to endure a VA more concerned about bonuses than caring for veterans, and just as veterans work bi-partisanly to accomplish the mission â€“ there are no Republican or Democrat foot patrols â€“ Congress must do the same.
The first step has been taken, and that is accountability. I and most of my colleagues voted for H.R. 4031 â€“ a bill that would make it easier to fire VA employees performing poorly. I want us to separate from VA employees and those in leadership positions â€“ those who harmed veterans instead of helping them. I support measures that make the VA more accountable, transparent and of service to our nationâ€™s veterans.
For the 20 or so legislative days we have left before the Speaker adjourns the House, I will be working on a bipartisan basis to hold the VA accountable, to get veterans from waiting lists to doctorsâ€™ offices, and to ensure that the VA has the tools, resources, and right people for the job. Reforming an entire government agency isnâ€™t easy; however, the work must be done. Our veterans deserve a VA that keeps Americaâ€™s promise to its veterans. I will be working on that today and every day.
For more information on U.S. Rep. Gallego, visit www.gallego.house.gov. Learn more about U.S. Rep. Gallego by liking his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.
Congressman Pete P. Gallego, D23 announces mobile office hours for Culberson County Scheduled for July 16 at The Culberson County Courthouse, 100 LaCaverna. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more information, contact Case Worker, Nancy Zeh at 915-872-1066.