WASHINGTON U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, today offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 that would require the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to incorporate a full-service inpatient health care facility into the existing South Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Harlingen.

Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison have introduced similar legislation in the past and continue to make the case for a VA inpatient facility in Far South Texas with top-ranking VA officials, as well as the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (see attached). While the Senators have supported and welcomed expansions to outpatient and other services at the existing Harlingen VA facilities, they maintain that access to VA inpatient care still must be provided.

"This holiday season will see the return of tens of thousands of service members from locations across the globe, including the remaining 40,000 troops in Iraq who are winding down our nation's 9-year mission there. Already, the growing population of 100,000 veterans in Far South Texas lacks adequate access to full-service inpatient health care, and further delay in providing this population with the local inpatient care they deserve is unacceptable. I will not give up the fight to make this inpatient facility a reality for the veterans of South Texas," Sen. Cornyn said.

"A grateful nation cares for those who have answered the call to serve, even after they leave the battlefield," said Sen. Hutchison. "The veterans of South Texas answered their nation's call, and many of them went in harm's way and risked everything for their country. This amendment will help to ensure that these South Texas veterans receive the care they deserve."