Smith: Hot Springs VA Center, funding cuts issues for veterans

3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith focused on the fate of the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs when he talked to veterans in Chadron earlier this week.

The VA has proposed closing the center and expanding its contracted services with hospitals and other providers to serve veterans in their areas...a proposal strongly opposed by most Panhandle veterans and veterans organizations.

Smith says he is waiting to hear back from the head of the VA...retired General Eric Shinseki...on a request for a meeting in Hot Springs.

The South Dakota and Wyoming congressional delegations also wrote Shinseki, asking him to come to Hot Springs.

Smith says veterans he talked are also worried about the impact pending federal budget cuts already seem to be having on VA programs.

Veterans funding would be among the programs taking a major hit after the first of the year if Congress fails to deal in a post-election lame duck session with the twin threats of expiring tax cuts and budget sequestration.

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