Rep. Woodall talks about VA problems

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CUMMING, Ga. — Rep. Rob Woodall, (R-Ga.), opened his remarks to a Cumming Vietnam veterans group on Aug. 4 by acknowledging that with the current atmosphere, it is “hard to make things happen in Washington.”

Despite that, Woodall, who represents the southern half of Forsyth County as part of Georgia’s 7th District, said he and everyone else in Congress were shocked by scandals involving the quality of patient care and appointment scheduling at Phoenix, Atlanta and other Veterans Administration hospitals.

That’s why both the U.S. House and Senate, who normally can’t agree on anything, voted to allow veterans who live far away from a VA health facility, or those not receiving timely care, to access treatment at non-VA facilities.

Woodall said it will mean a $10 billion commitment, but that America needs to keep its promises to our military veterans.

The new law also puts an end to automatic pay raises and bonuses for VA managers and gives the agency more ability to hire and fire.

“I have been incredibly touched by the bipartisan response to the mess at the VA,” said Woodall.

However, he said he is concerned about how the nation is divided on many other issues.

“You need look no further than immigration as an example of that,” he said.

The congressman said although the House voted to deal with the crisis on the southern border, it won’t become law because the Senate had already left Washington for vacation.

He said that in his opinion, expedited removal of illegal immigrants is one way to send a message to stop it.

Woodall said the current process only encourages those who break laws.

“We need the kind of robust immigration policy that encourages people to do it the right way,” he said. Woodall favors an immigration law that allows officials to pick and choose those they want to allow into the country, especially those with talents and skills needed to advance the economy.

In the U.S., he said, we “are uncomfortable picking and choosing.”

When asked by audience members about reports the Pentagon was sending pink slips to Army majors and captains in combat zones as part of a reduction of the officer corps, Woodall said he can’t imagine a circumstance where that would be the right thing to do.

Woodall, who said his main focus is helping constituents who are having trouble dealing with federal agencies, does not have an opponent in the upcoming November election. To contact Woodall’s office, call 770-232-3005.

The Cumming Chapter 1030 of the Vietnam Veterans of America meets the first Monday of each month at the Golden Corral Restaurant on Market Place Boulevard. Dinner is at 6 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. meeting open to all Vietnam era veterans.

FH-8-20