Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
As a veteran myself, I agree completely with San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliott’s call for the Veterans Administrations to fund the French Camp facilities in order to better serve the veterans of the Central Valley. However, I feel that his appeal to interested individuals to direct their support for the facilities to Secretary Shinseki alone does not go far enough.
On Feb. 27 of this year, Senate Republicans voted down Independent Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Veterans Omnibus Bill (SB.1950), which proposed expanding healthcare, dental coverage, education, job training, and better access for all veterans regardless of disability rating. It also included opening 27 VA medical centers and clinics. The $21 billion cost was to come out of the funding for the Overseas and Contingency Operations budget, and was designed to tap into the savings from the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the procedural vote on the bill, the entire Democratic caucus voted for it, as did two Republican senators, Senator Heller (NV) and Senator Moran (KS). The final 56-41 vote failed sending the bill to the Congress by only 4 votes.
I would encourage anyone interested in supporting the French Camp VA facility to contact the Republican Party leadership in the Senate and the House of Representatives, including our own Rep. Jeff Denham, and demand that they support the equivalent of SB.1950, increased funding for veterans benefits and the expansion of VA facilities, now and in the future.