June 6 will be the third anniversary of the bipartisan VA MISSION Act, which created the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) process, designed to establish a commission to determine the status and needs of Department of Veterans Affairs’ infrastructure.
But before the AIR Commission can even get off the ground, the Biden administration is proposing $18 billion in new spending on VA infrastructure, without a clue about whether it’s actually needed.
In a new op-ed in The Hill, Concerned Veterans for America Policy Director Juliana Heerschap urges Congress to hold off on piling more money onto the VA’s plate until the commission can be formed, conduct its review, and provide recommendations to Congress and the White House
“The solution to the VA’s infrastructure needs is more nuanced than more money and more buildings,” Heerschap writes. “It will require innovation, flexibility, leveraging high-quality community providers, and capitalizing on where the VA has clear expertise.”
With the veteran population expected to decline by 40 percent over the next two and half decades, drastic changes are coming for the VA, including where and how it will serve veterans. Spending billions to add to the inventory of facilities without having a clear idea of what those rapidly changing tasks will entail would be a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money.
Instead, Heerschap writes, the White House should prioritize sending nominations for the AIR Commission to the Senate, which should confirm bipartisan nominees “so they can get to work on recommendations for realigning the VA’s infrastructure.”
Read the whole thing here.