Arlington, VA – Today the House Veterans Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on The Asset and Infrastructure Review Act of 2017. This draft legislation would establish an independent commission to review the current Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) infrastructure. The effort would allow the VA to eliminate waste and allocate asset and infrastructure resources with greater efficiency.
VA Secretary David Shulkin has testified in previous congressional hearings that the VA has hundreds of empty or under-utilized buildings that cost the federal government nearly $25 million annually to maintain. An internal VA report showed that of the 431 completely vacant buildings the VA owns, most were built nearly a century ago or more.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“A review of the VA’s infrastructure is long overdue. With a smaller and changing veteran population, the current VA infrastructure is not suited to meet the needs of the veterans who depend on it. A comprehensive review of the VA’s infrastructure is a common-sense step to ensure the department’s resources are being used efficiently.
“The VA maintaining hundreds of empty and under-utilized buildings is symptomatic of wasteful spending throughout the federal government. We applaud members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for addressing this issue and encourage them to continue taking steps to improve efficiency at the VA.”
Secretary Shulkin testified during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing earlier this year that the VA operated more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 under-utilized buildings. He went on to state that these 1100 facilities could either be consolidated or eliminated, with no impact to veteran care.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee is also considering another piece of draft legislation that would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to sell Pershing Hall, a building owned by the VA located in Paris, France. The funds from the sale of Pershing Hall would be used to fund the American Battle Monuments Commission for maintaining cemeteries, monuments, and memorials.