Mast Introduces Legislation Encouraging Congressional Offices at VA Facilities

Mar 27 • 147 Views • View Comments

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Mast Opened First-Ever Office Inside VA Facility

U.S. Congressman Brian Mast today introduced new legislation to streamline the opening of Congressional offices inside Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the nation. The introduction of the bill, called the Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act, follows Rep. Mast’s opening of the first-ever Congressional office inside a VA this past January.

“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,” Rep. 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.”

Since the opening of the VA office in January, many other Members of Congress have asked Rep. Mast about the process to open his office so that they can replicate the service for veterans at their local VA facilities. Unfortunately, opening the office took more than a year of navigating bureaucratic red tape.

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. 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.

Read the text of the bill here.

BACKGROUND

Rep. Mast opened the first-ever Congressional office inside a VA facility in January.  Through this office, veterans from around the area have improved access for assistance with any VA-related issues.  The office is located in room 1A-366 of the West Palm Beach VA.

The office is staffed jointly by the West Palm Beach area Congressional delegation on the following schedule:

Rep. Brian Mast – Mondays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rep. Lois Frankel – Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rep. Ted Deutch – First Wednesday of the Month: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings – Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Veterans may call ahead to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Veterans may also receive assistance at any of our other offices at any time.

 

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