Rep. Coffman continued his fight for great veterans services with the introduction of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that will keep the Aurora VA hospital moving forward by naming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the permanent construction authority and increasing the budget to $1.1 billion. Sen. Gardner offered the companion bill in the Senate.
This time, the entire delegation signed on to the bill. We’d like to take credit for publicly shaming the Democrats, including Rep. Diana Degette, Rep. Jared Polis, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, into signing on to the bill, but it’s really probably due more to Coffman’s ability to work across the aisle than our snark. Sen. Bennet also signed on.
Here’s what Coffman said about the bill:
“We cannot erase the unforgivable errors that have already been committed by the VA, but we can fire the VA and bring in competent managers to get this critical hospital built. We owe it to Colorado’s veterans, taxpayers and the 1,400 construction workers to ensure this project is completed as quickly and cost effectively as possible going forward.”
The bill is meant to fix the blunders that occurred due to Perlmutter’s mess of a situation. The hospital project has been quagmired by lax oversight and cost overruns, which led to the contractor Kiewit Turner walking away from the project in December. A federal appeals judge ruled that the construction company could walk away due to breach of contract by the VA, leaving over 1,000 construction workers out of work just before Christmas.