Durbin Joins Peoria Area Veterans to Discuss Ongoing Work to Bring Accountability to the VA

[PEORIA] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with local veteran service organization leaders to discuss the ongoing efforts in Washington to remedy the serious problems facing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Durbin discussed legislation which the Senate passed last week to remedy some of those issues and improve veterans’ access to health care and heard from the attendees about their experiences with the VA system.

“We owe every one of our veterans a great deal, and that includes timely access to top-notch medical care,” Durbin said. “I will continue to seek regular updates from the federal agencies looking into long wait times at VA facilities in Illinois, including the clinic in Peoria. But I also want to hear from the veterans who seek care at these facilities and the service organizations working on the front lines, which today’s meeting gave me the opportunity to do.

“Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting VA employees at facilities across Illinois – many from military families or former service members themselves – and I have found them to be dedicated public servants committed to serving the men and women to whom our nation owes a great deal. It is time for all of us in public service – including Members of Congress, VA administrators, hospital and clinic staff, and others – to work together to solve the issues facing our VA system and ensure that our veterans receive the care and benefits they earned.”

Today’s meeting was attended by representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), AMVETS, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Today’s discussion is the latest in a series of meetings Durbin has held with Illinois veteran service organization leaders. Earlier this month he met with Springfield veterans to hear about their experiences with the VA. On Wednesday, the Senator met in Washington with national leaders from several organizations, including Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) Paralyzed Veterans of America, DAV, Wounded Warrior Project, and VFW to discuss the VA’s troubles.

On June 12, the Senate passed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act. The legislation will bring accountability to senior staff at VA medical facilities; give veterans access to private doctors, community health centers and other hospitals and clinics; make it easier for the VA to hire and train more doctors and nurses; and expand access to care through the creation of 26 new medical facilities.

The legislation also will allow in-state tuition for all veterans at public colleges and universities, improve medical care for military sexual assault victims, and provide more VA benefits for surviving spouses of deceased servicemembers. The House of Representatives passed a separate version of the bill,