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Phoenix Business Journal: House Speaker Visits VA Hospital, Says Increased Funding Should Impact Care

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Congressmen Harry Mitchell and Ed Pastor toured the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix Wednesday offering promises for financial relief to recovering soldiers.


The Democrats said the purpose of the visit was to experience the facility and to discuss the different measures being taken to improve veterans' care.


'This is my first visit to the hospital ... but I have visited VA hospitals all over the country and this is outstanding,' Pelosi said. 'In the military it is said that on the battlefield we will leave no soldier behind and when they come home, we in Congress promise that we will leave no veteran behind.'


Pelosi heralded Mitchell and Pastor for helping to appropriate the largest amount of funds in the Department of Veterans Affairs' history and told patients they soon will 'be feeling the effects of that increased funding.'


Mitchell also mentioned a bill he co-sponsored, the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, which is aimed at improving facilities and services for wounded and recovering service members.


During the visit the Democrats walked the facility's halls, dropping in and visiting patients along the way. One patient, Vietnam veteran Ray Hayhurst, received a pleasant surprise when Pelosi stopped to talk with him as he waited for medication.


'I had no idea they would be here and was astonished when I saw her,' he said. 'She seemed very cordial and I told her that when there are budget cuts they are really felt. If they are paying attention, good things can happen.'


Some members of the medical center staff were equally as pleased with the visit. Registered nurse Erica Gardner said she was happy that lawmakers were acknowledging the issues.


'I think it's good that they're going to draw attention to the needs of the veterans,' she said. 'Also to point out the quality of care the veterans are receiving, highlighting that there are great things going on with the VA's facilities. We are taking care of our veterans and putting them first for the sacrifices they made.'