Senate Passes Graves’ Legislation to Expand and Improve Veterans Care in the Capital Region

Published 7:08 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate just advanced Congressman Garret Graves’ legislation to expand and improve Veterans health care in the Greater Baton Rouge area and south Louisiana.

The Baton Rouge VA clinic has been identified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as one of the nation’s most urgently needed facility expansions due to limited space and separate buildings at the current Essen Lane location. The VA clinic has been unable to expand due to outdated bureaucrat budget restrictions over lease restrictions and deferred improvements, which ultimately denies Veterans the care they’ve earned.

Graves’ legislation would kickstart the urgent VA relocation process, which they were otherwise prohibited to doIt now heads to the president to be signed into law.

Graves released the following statement yesterday before today’s U.S. Senate vote:

“Veterans in Baton Rouge and south Louisiana deserve medical care equal to their bravery. The cramped and jammed conditions of the current VA Clinic in Baton Rouge hamper the caregivers and deny the best we can offer our Veterans. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13th and is working toward final approval in the U.S. Senate. Once enacted, our legislation will allow the VA to establish better, expanded and more suitable medical accommodations to provide care to our south Louisiana Veterans,” Graves said. “Veterans across the US suffer due unnecessary, inexplicable bureaucracy. It simply doesn’t pass the commonsense test. It’s crazy that a brand new $1 billion VA hospital can appear ‘cheaper’ in the federal budget than a $23 million lease – even when there is already an existing lease. It’s not like the VA is paying more money for a new lease. It’s more like Veterans paying for ridiculous calculator gymnastics instead of focusing on getting their best care. It shouldn’t take an Act of Congress to get veterans the care they’ve earned and deserve.”

Graves has worked directly with Trump and Biden VA Secretaries, numerous VA and budget officials, the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Baton Rouge area Veterans to push for an expanded clinic. Graves has offered numerous amendments to spending and Veterans bills to focus attention on this priority, while constantly negotiating with congressional and administration officials to untangle the complexity of approving a new clinic.

The House-amended bill passed the U.S Senate on Tuesday.