Representative Anthony Brindisi

Representing the 22nd District of New York

BRINDISI FIGHTS TO ENSURE UPSTATE NEW YORK PRIORITIES ARE INCLUDED IN MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VA BUDGET

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April 2, 2019
Press Release

Brindisi To Budget Negotiators: Do Not Delay Or Cancel Rome Lab Perimeter Security Project

 Brindisi Asks VA To Complete Necessary Assessments Before Relocating Bainbridge CBOC 

 

Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) today spoke before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to advocate for Upstate New York budget priorities including perimeter security at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome and the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Bainbridge. 

Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations included $14.2 million for Rome Lab’s Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point military construction project. However, the Trump Administration’s plan to redirect military construction funding toward the construction of a border wall places this important project at risk of being delayed or canceled.

“I’d like to urge the committee to fully support the Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point military construction project at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York,” said Brindisi in his testimony. “The sensitive work done at the lab places it at a higher risk, and ensuring these funds are appropriated will help directly to ensure the safety of over 3,000 employees against potential terrorist threats.”

Brindisi also expressed concern regarding potential plans to move the Bainbridge CBOC to Oneonta, New York. The VA MISSION Act requires the VA to perform market area assessments regarding health care, including an assessment of the demand for health care in specific areas, health care provider capacity at each facility, and the capacity of community care networks to provide care. The Albany VA plans to conduct a market assessment in 2020, and Brindisi urged the VA to consider all data and assessments available before making a relocation decision. 

“Bainbridge and surrounding Chenango County are extremely rural, transportation and health care options are limited, and the population is aging,” said Brindisi. “Over 3,600 veterans reside in Chenango County, and any potential move of the CBOC out of the Bainbridge area would have a tremendous impact on veterans and their families in having access to VA health care.”

Congressman Brindisi’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below: 

Thank you, Madam Chairman and Ranking Member Calvert, for the opportunity to testify today.  As you work to prepare the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill, I want to share with you my priorities. I know your Subcommittee receives many requests, and your consideration is greatly appreciated.

First, I’d like to urge the committee to fully support the Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point military construction project at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York. I am thankful that the committee recognized this project’s importance by including the full $14.2 million for the project in its FY 2019 appropriations. However, the Trump Administration’s plan to redirect military construction funding toward the construction of a border wall places this important project at risk of being delayed or cancelled.

Rome Lab conducts extremely sensitive research and development projects including cutting edge cyber, quantum computing, and counter-UAS research. The sensitive work done at the lab places it at a higher risk, and ensuring these funds are appropriated will help directly to ensure the safety of over 3,000 employees against potential terrorist threats. I urge the committee to protect the funding for Rome Lab’s Perimeter security MilCon project.

Second, I urge the committee to include my requested language regarding a clinic in my district.

The Albany VA Medical Center has proposed to move the Bainbridge CBOC to Oneonta, NY in neighboring Otsego County. The Bainbridge clinic’s lease has since been extended until 2020.

Bainbridge and surrounding Chenango County are extremely rural, transportation and health care options are limited, and the population is aging. Over 3,600 veterans reside in Chenango County, and any potential move of the CBOC out of the Bainbridge area would have a tremendous impact on veterans and their families in having access to VA health care.

As you know, the VA MISSION Act requires that VA perform market area assessments regarding their health care. Market area assessments shall include an assessment of the demand for health care in specific areas, health care provider capacity at each facility, and the capacity of community care networks to provide care. The Albany VA plans to conduct a market assessment in 2020.

Given the recent passage of the MISSION Act, I believe that the VA must perform this assessment first in order to inform any decision to move clinics.  I respectfully request that the committee include my proposed language in the bill to ensure that VA is considering all the data and assessments available to them before making this decision. Including this language will ensure that any decision to move the CBOC will be based on an objective assessment, resulting in better access to care for veterans in the area.

Thank you for your consideration, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

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