Brady: Who do we owe more – our veterans or immigrants in custody?
Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 3525) that would require the federal government to create a universal electronic medical records system for the benefit of individuals in the custody of the Border Patrol (illegal immigrants) within 90 days.
It is important that doctors treating any patient know all that patient’s medical issues, prescribed medications and health history
In fact, the Veterans Administration has been working to establish such a system for our veterans and patriots who have been injured in combat or who develop health issues. Today, neither the Department of Defense nor the Veterans Administration has such a system in place. In fact, as ridiculous as it sounds, the experts have said it will take another nine years to fully complete the systems for both agencies.
Many in Congress recognized it was unfair to make our veterans wait for a system while giving priority funding to implement a system for immigrants presently in custody.
So, there was a motion made on the floor to amend the implementation of such a system for illegal immigrants and give veterans priority to get their system completed first.
The motion to give our patriots and veterans priority over illegal immigrants failed, with 212 Democrats, including our Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, voting against our veterans!
Further, the requirement to createthis system is an unfunded mandate.
It would force the Department of Homeland Security to divert funds from other agency efforts, such as border security, human and drug trafficking efforts and natural disaster (FEMA) response.
Frankly, these Democrats have the nation’s priorities backwards. Our veterans have earned the right to the best health care available. They have made sacrifices for all of us and the safety of this nation. It is wrong for them to have to wait for nine years to have a modern electronic medical records system available to their doctors so they can provide the very best treatment.
It is worse to support a policy that places our veterans needs behindthose of illegal immigrants.
For too long, our representatives in Congress have voted without much public awareness about their words and their actions. It is time we hold them accountable. We need to stand up for our veterans and say enough is enough.
Jane Brady was elected to three terms as Delaware's Attorney General and served a 12-year terms as a Judge of the Delaware Superior Court. She currently serves as chair of the Delaware Republican Party.
Rochester: Vote that Brady criticizes had nothing to do with veterans
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the inaccurate opinion piece that has been published in local publications by the chairwoman of the Delaware Republican Party, Jane Brady, calling into question a recent vote I took in the House of Representatives. The vote in question was on H.R. 3525, the U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act. It alleges that in voting against a specific motion on the bill, I voted against our veterans.
What isn’t mentioned, however, is that the motion I voted against had nothing to do with veterans. In fact, the word veteran didn’t even appear in the motion. Rather, what I voted against was the delay of implementing an electronic medical record system for the Department of Homeland Security by 10 years, which would have made an already untenable crisis at our border even worse.
It is also suggested that neither the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs nor the Department of Defense has an electronic medical records system in place - another inaccuracy. The project that both the VA and the military are currently undergoing aims to make their systems fully interoperable with each other and with crucial community health partners, to ensure that our veterans get the best possible care. On this point, we agree - it’s the very least that our veterans deserve.
As a matter of fact, on the very day these inaccurate statements were first lodged in publications, I was on the House floor voting to pass a comprehensive bipartisan package that strengthened the GI Bill, allowed veterans access to tele-hearings, and protected the families of our fallen heroes. Last year, I worked to pass the landmark VA MISSION Act to modernize care for our veterans and expanded their access to providers in the community. This year, on the recommendation of a Delaware veteran, I fought to ensure that the families and caregivers of our disabled veterans can accompany them on military-sponsored flights. And throughout my time in Congress, I’ve worked to assist Delaware veterans with issues ranging from recovering missing medals to accessing the health care services they’ve earned.
Delawareans and especially our veterans deserve more than politics -- they deserve results. So long as I’m honored to serve our state in Washington, I’ll continue to work to make sure they get them.
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester represents Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves as an Assistant Whip for House Leadership. Lisa sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.