On Monday, two congressmen from Florida -- Republican Brian Mast and Democrat Darren Soto -- paired up to proposal a bill making it easier to have congressional offices inside U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.
Mast and Soto unveiled the “Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act” to streamline the process for members of Congress to have offices in VA facilities.
“Serving veterans in our community is not only deeply personal to me, it’s also the most frequent request that I get as a member of Congress,” Mast said. “Opening the first-ever congressional office inside a VA hospital has allowed us to help veterans on the spot: when and where they’re having an issue. Every single member of Congress should do the same at their local VA and this bill will pave the way to make that high level of service a reality for our veterans.”
The congressmen bemoaned the red tape currently stopping members of Congress from opening offices in VA facilities.
“The Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act would cut down on this bureaucracy by requiring the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to permit a member of Congress to use a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of meeting with constituents of the member,” Mast’s office noted. “Moreover, the bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop regulations regarding the use of VA office space by ,members of Congress, mandating that the space be made available during normal business hours and in a location that is easily accessible to the member’s constituents.”
Mast brought out a similar proposal last year but he was not able to get it over the finish line.