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Congressman Al Lawson

Representing the 5th District of Florida

Lawson, Rutherford Vote for VA Choice Program Funding, Progress on Lease for Outpatient Clinic in Jacksonville

July 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives John Rutherford (FL-04) and Al Lawson (FL-05) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 114, a bipartisan bill that extends funding for the Veterans Choice Program, improves VA employee hiring and retention, and authorizes long-needed leases for 28 VA medical facilities.  Importantly, this measure authorizes $18.6 million for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville.  This future clinic would consolidate services offered at the Southpoint and University locations and expand services for veterans.

Congressman John Rutherford said, “I have been encouraged by the progress being made the at the VA; however, too many veterans face long lines and receive inadequate care.  That is why extending funding for the VA Choice Program at this time is essential to ensure that our veterans receive the care that they require and deserve.  Recent meetings that I have had with the Acting Director of the Veterans Health Administration and the Director of the North Florida/South Georgia Health System, as well as conversations with Secretary Shulkin, assure me that we are heading in the right direction at the VA.  As we continue reforming the VA community care programs and the VA at large, it is important that the Choice Program has sufficient funding. 

I also enthusiastically welcome the announcement of the authorization for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville.  This is long overdue since Northeast Florida is home to over 150,000 veterans who rely on these services.  I thank Chairman Roe and the Veterans’ Affairs Committees for recognizing and including the authorization for this vital clinic in this package, and I look forward to continuing to work to make the project become a reality.”

Congressman Lawson said, “Today, Congress took an important step in improving the quality of health care for our nation’s veterans by passing S. 114. This legislation is extremely important to our veterans in North Florida, including Jacksonville, which has a significant veteran population. I am pleased that this bill included authorization for a replacement VA outpatient clinic for the city of Jacksonville and I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Rutherford to guarantee that veterans have the resources they need and deserve.”

For more information on this important legislation, click here.