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Congressman Charles Boustany Talks Veterans’ Medical Access And Immigration Bill

Charles Boustany offical photo
Charles Boustany offical photo

U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany is coming back to Acadiana next week, but before leaving Washington, he sat down for a quick interview with co-host Brandon Comeaux of “Your Afternoon Drive Home” on Newstalk 96.5 FM KPEL.

Rep. Boustany first talked about veterans’ medical access. Thursday, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs conducted a full committee hearing on bureaucratic red tape delaying the construction of Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Lake Charles and Lafayette. Congressman Boustany says, “Louisiana veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other serious service connected disabilities must travel hundreds of miles for care.  Many lack the ability to drive alone and face financial hardships that prevent them from taking time off work.  Federal bureaucrats needlessly delayed the construction of local medical clinics for these veterans, but House and Senate leaders have the power to break this log jam.  I look forward to their response to my bipartisan letter, signed by 66 Members of the House and Senate.”

David Vitter (United States Senate)
Sen. David Vitter (United States Senate)

This is also an issue that U.S. Senator David Vitter is taking up, in the Senate. Thursday, Vitter sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee leaders urging them to include both the Lafayette and Lake Charles VA clinics in their funding authorization bill next month. Vitter met with Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) this week to discuss the matter and was able to get the commitment that at least the Lafayette clinic will be included, and they discussed continuing to push for the Lake Charles clinic too.

“It’s absolutely crucial for Louisiana veterans to have both of these clinics,” Vitter said. “Both would actually be nearing completion, but because of bureaucratic mistakes committed by the VA, they were delayed significantly and pushed onto last year’s VA funding bill, which then ran into the complication with brand new budget rules. The Senate VA Committee has a chance to get his right, and I’ll be urging them to do just that.”

Congressman Boustany will be heading back home on Friday, in preparation for next week’s town hall visits to Abbeville and Crowley on Monday, will be on “Mornings with Ken and Bernie” on Tuesday, and will be a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Lafayette North’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, July 2, at noon at the Holiday Inn in Lafayette (Holidome).

“I’m looking forward to being back home for the week, running around the district and touching base with some folks,” says Boustany. “I hope folks will come out. I want to hear concerns. It’s going to basically be my opportunity to face folks and hear their questions, hear their concerns and visit.”

Rep. Boustany also spoke about the sweeping immigration bill that passed the U.S. House after it was passed by a 68-32 vote in the U.S. Senate. It’s a bipartisan measure that provides a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“I know the bill has very strong border security measures, and I was happy to see that. I need to look at the section dealing with the illegals who are here today and to understand in detail how it actually works and what they are proposing because I am not for amnesty…I absolutely oppose amnesty for people who have come into this country illegally. They have broken the law and that’s got to be dealt with in a way that doesn’t provide amnesty.”

As a member of the Senate, Vitter expressed his disappointment in the bill’s passage:

“The vote today was very disappointing for one simple reason: this bill wouldn’t solve the problem if it became law and would probably make it a lot worse. It’s amnesty now, enforcement, maybe, much later. We tried that in 1986, and illegals quadrupled. On the positive side, bill supporters fell well short of a vote total in the 70s which they promised, so this has no momentum at all in the House.”

GOP Speaker John Boehner has said the House will not consider the Senate bill and that they will work through their own bills in the House. Boustany says the judiciary committee is working on several bills right now pertaining to border security, the guest worker program and other aspects of immigration. “My first opportunity to cast votes will be once those bills actually come to the House floor, and I will be looking at them very closely,” says Boustany.

To listen to Congressman Boustany’s interview, CLICK BELOW:

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