November 10, 2005
Contact: Jeff Schrade (202)224-9093

(Washington, DC) At a hearing today in Washington, DC, U.S. Senator Larry Craig and other members of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee were reassured that the VA is dedicated to rebuilding its presence in both Louisiana and Mississippi.

"It isn't going to be easy and it isn't going to be cheap, but we clearly have an opportunity to do things right and do them better," said Craig. "The President's supplemental appropriation identifies $845 million for a new VA medical center in New Orleans, and when I saw that number, I said ?Wow.'"

(To watch the hearing and/or read Secretary Nicholson's comments on-line, click: HERE.)

According to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson, who testified at the hearing, the Bush administration has included $1.38 billion dollars for VA recovery and rebuilding in the request to Congress for supplemental appropriations.

The request includes $1.15 billion to rebuild the New Orleans Medical Center and to repair and add a bed tower to the medical center in Biloxi following the destruction of the Gulfport complex. It also includes $25 million to allow the VA to furnish and begin the replacement of a regional office in New Orleans.