McNerney pushes VA on Livermore, San Joaquin

Rep. Jerry McNerney says he went to bat for a couple of 11th Congressional District projects as well as veterans across the nation in his one-on-one meeting today with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

McNerney and Shinseki 2-9-2011McNerney, D-Pleasanton – who had announced yesterday that he’ll be the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs – said he again urged the secretary to revisit decisions made by his predecessors to close the Livermore VA facility and to instead develop a plan that would keep it in veterans’ hands.

“The Livermore VA is a uniquely situated facility that is an important resource for the thousands of veterans who live in the area,” McNerney said in a news release. “Given its tranquil setting, I’ve long advocated for the facility to remain in veterans’ hands and be used to provide treatment for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. With an increasing number of veterans suffering from PTSD, this type of care is more important than ever.”

He said they also discussed the new veterans’ nursing home and outpatient medical facility planned for San Joaquin County.

“Just the other week, local veterans attended my most recent Congress at Your Corner event in Stockton to ask for an update on the VA’s decision on where to locate the new medical facility,” McNerney said. “At today’s meeting with the secretary I expressed again the importance of reaching a decision. This facility will create about 900 jobs and serve thousands of veterans in the area and it’s very important to our community that a final location is selected without delay.”

And McNerney said he and Shinseki discussed the VA’s backlog of benefits claims waiting to be processed – a figure the VA puts at about 400,000, but advocacy groups such as the American Legion say could be closer to 1 million – as well as the need to improve care for veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • David LaTour

    Jerry McNerney was one of only 67 neo-con Dems to vote for the PATRIOT Act renewal last night. Thankfully, Stark and Lee both voted NO. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll026.xml

  • Josh Richman

    Read the full story on the Patriot Act vote, with McNerney’s explanation, here.

  • John W

    Just because McNerney doesn’t march in step with the Bay Area delegation on everything hardly makes him a “neo-con.” Neo-con’s are most closely associated with having concocted the justification for invading Iraq. It was partly McNerney’s opposition to what we were doing in Iraq that motivated him to run for Congress in the first place. I’m pretty liberal, and I agree with his vote on the Patriot Act. He also voted for the health care bill — an easy vote for the rest of Bay Area reps in liberal districts, but not such an easy vote in the 11th. He took a lot of heat for it.

  • Elwood

    Where’s the Gressett thread?

  • John W

    Good question, Elwood. Was wondering the same thing.

  • David LaTour

    @John, I agree that the use of terms like “neocon” can be too simplistic. In my opinion, the so-called PATRIOT Act along with the War in Iraq were both reactionary and driven by a fear of Muslims. Unfortunately, it appears that McNerney has accepted this view. Do you disagree that elements of the Patriot Act violate privacy rights?

  • John W

    David LaTour:

    My opinion is that invading Iraq was on Bush’s “to do” list the day he took office, long before 9/11, and had everything to do with getting Saddam and nothing to do with Muslims. PATRIOT act was driven by fear of 9/11 repeat or worse, not fear of Muslims per se. I agreed with extending the three provisions voted on the other day, because they are needed. Do they compromise privacy rights? Maybe, but not unreasonably so in my opinion, and not without justification. For example, the “roving wiretaps” provision permits court approved wiretaps of foreign terrorist suspects without having to go back to the court each time a suspect tosses out his throw-away cell phone and starts using another. They aren’t constantly switching phones just for the fun of it.

  • ralph hoffmann

    Republican Ron Paul voted against invading Iraq. We would not have invaded Iraq if some Democrats had not voted to do so. Democrat Obama authorized the Afghanistan troop surge. Do we have to have anti-war demonstrations in USA Cities to bring our troops home to defend the homeland ala Egypt? 9/11/83 was the day Kissinger, Haig and the CIA overthrew democratically elected Salvador Allende in Santiago, Chile, to install a puppet dictator, much like puppets Mubarak, Papa Doc, Marcos, etc.