South Dakota’s congressional delegation is meeting with the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to discuss President Obama’s recent budget request. US Senator John Thune says he is working to get certain provisions removed because they are detrimental to South Dakotans.
US Senator John Thune says he’s surprised and frustrated with President Obama’s budget request because it contains provisions that will close the VA Health Care Center in Hot Springs.
“And I think it’s a clear reversal of the repeated assurances that the VA has given us over the last four years that any process to reconfigure the Black Hill’s health care system would take place in a open and fair manner and without a pre-determined outcome. The VA has repeatedly pointed to its ongoing environmental impact statement and said that it will be completed in accordance with the law before a final decision is made,” says Thune.
Thune says he invited VA Secretary Robert McDonald to come to South Dakota to visit the medical center in Hot Springs but says McDonald declined citing he wants to ensure that the VA’s actions are not perceived as influencing the ongoing EIS process.
“We sent the Secretary a letter asking that he expressly remove these provisions from their budget request and complete the EIS and I hope that is the outcome of this meeting,” says Thune.
Senator Thune says he plans to question Secretary McDonald on other matters pertaining to the VA’s handling of the Medical Center in Hot Springs.