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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Will Congress close even 1 of the VA's 430 empty buildings?

As a veteran, I realize I am a member of the most pandered to group in America.

Oh, I am all for helping out down-and-out veterans and honoring the service of all, especially the combat veterans. But the pandering is expensive.

And also expensive -- and inefficient.

We have never spent more on the VA and received less. The agency is big and bureaucratic and not serving those who need medical attention.

But don't just blame the bureaucracy.

Blame Congress.

Did John McCain raise holy hell about the VA medical facility in Phoenix -- in his "home" state -- where veterans died awaiting an appointment?

And will McCain or anyone else in Congress help the VA close any of its 430 vacant buildings, many of which were built in the 1920s?

From the Associated Press:
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says his department is seeking to close perhaps more than 1,100 VA facilities nationwide as it develops plans to allow more veterans to receive medical care in the private sector.
At a House hearing Wednesday, Shulkin said the VA had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 that he described as underutilized, costing the federal government $25 million a year. He said the VA would work with Congress in prioritizing buildings for closure and was considering whether to follow a process the Pentagon had used in recent decades to decide which of its underused military bases to shutter, known as Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.
"Whether BRAC is a model that we should take a look, we're beginning that discussion with members of Congress," Shulkin told a House appropriations subcommittee. "We want to stop supporting our use of maintenance of buildings we don't need, and we want to reinvest that in buildings we know have capital needs."
In an internal agency document obtained by The Associated Press, the VA pointed to aging buildings it was reviewing for possible closure that would cost millions of dollars to replace. It noted that about 57 percent of all VA facilities were more than 50 years old. Of the 431 VA buildings it said were vacant, most were built 90 or more years ago, according to agency data. The VA document did not specify the locations.
Just as with closing antiquated military facilities, or closing little used post offices, every congressman will fight for the empty building in his district.

On November 8, 2016, the American people said, "Trump the Establishment!"

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  1. The VA needs a house cleaning...and a hospital cleaning.

  2. Come on Big D, we gotta hang onto what few bennies we have left! According to the scorecard of The Overloads, here is where I stand:

    Christian = minus 25 points
    White = minus 20 points
    Male = minus 15 points
    Hetero = minus 15 points
    Conservative = minus 15 points
    Faithfully married = minus 10 points
    Faithfully paid taxes = minus 10 points
    Gun owner = minus 10 points
    Drives a gas guzzling Mustang = minus 10 points
    Veteran = plus 20 points
    Senior = plus 10 points

    I'm still WAY in debt to the government...

    Sort of kidding. Sort of. Ditching those facilities is a good idea, but believe me, in toto, I do NOT feel pampered.

    1. Sorry, that should be Overlords.

    2. Give yourself 50 points for not having HC as your CNC

  3. Some our Gubmint Mandarins will not close a vacant building because there may be some sort of use for it later, maybe a handout/giveaway to a loyal Real Estate Developer who will reuse the facility and claim the creation of so-called JOBS for the underclass, thus ensuring eternal reelection to our local congress critter.

  4. Something's not right here. How is it possible for more than a thousand buildings to only cost $25 million a year? Forget about opportunity cost, the rent, maintenance and depreciation would have to be a substantial multiple of that figure.

  5. Send all the panders back to China. - Elric

  6. A big FWIW - I don't want a pat on the back & sometimes the cheers for vets embarrasses me (USAF 20 yr E-8) but I have some service-related issues & after retiring in '85 I went to VA facility in Ohio to get it checked out. I saw guys (female vets were small in number in those days) in wheelchairs, some with legs, some without, some with arms, some with only one, etc., etc., etc. I turned around and left. I figured my busted knee was minor sh*t compared to what those guys had.

    Today, I've a stepson Army veteran who has non-service-related vision problem. He gets letters from local VA (Kenova, WV) about once a yr to come on in & they'd hook him up with some vision care. Hell, they offerred to send him to Alabama for a week to learn how to get around with only one eye. I'm proud to say he puts ltr in trash as he says he feels he'd be gaming the system as the injury didn't happen while in uniform.

    The VA has taken on too much & it shows in the poor care some eligible veterans received (or didn't in some cases).

  7. Sell them.

    With the business boom, we'll need lots of office space.

  8. I went to the VA to see about getting medical benefits as a backup, just incase. I filled out the forms and never heard anything after over 6 months. So I tracked down my application after a few calls. I was denied because I have saved too much money over the years; too damn rich, it seems. I asked if I could get a card that said I was a vet, but not entitled to benefits at the VA so I could use it for showing I am a vet for business' discounts; Not being a retiree I don' have a military ID, so I wanted a VA ID so don't have to carry around a copy of my DD-214. I was denied that possibility. I told them I would pay for it, but still I was denied. Sort of funny in a way and it says a lot about government.

    1. Check your state's DMV website. I took my DD-214 when I renewed my license in Missouri and they put "Veteran" on the back. I have used it at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc, for discounts.

  9. Here's betting lots of Congress Critters will oppose closing a VA facility, vacant or not, if it's in their district. Then they can crow about how they support veterans.

  10. Are they saleable? If so, sell and put the dough in the VA budget.