VA secretary, congressman feud over office space inside Florida hospital
Stars and Stripes
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: September 16, 2019
“It does something good for our veterans while not hurting anybody,” Mast said. “If you really want to understand a problem… you have to get your eyes on it and witness it yourself. I want to have an office in the VA so I can have my eyes on it, so my staff can have their eyes on what’s going right and wrong on a daily basis.”
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, left, says Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., right, misled the public over Mast's eviction from his congressional office inside a VA hospital.WASHINGTON – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie accused a Florida congressman of misleading the public Friday after the lawmaker expressed outrage at being evicted from his congressional office inside a VA hospital.
The VA sent eviction notices to six members of Congress at the end of August, booting them and their staffs out of their offices inside VA hospitals in West Palm Beach and Orlando. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., an Afghanistan War veteran and double amputee who in 2017 opened the first-ever congressional office inside a VA hospital, accused the agency of trying to avoid transparency and accountability.
On “Fox and Friends” last week, Mast referenced a tense exchange between he and Wilkie at a hearing in April, during which Mast pressed the secretary to visit the West Palm Beach VA hospital after a doctor there was shot by a patient.
Following the “Fox and Friends” interview, Wilkie wrote the congressman, alleging he made false implications about the VA’s decision to remove the lawmakers from their offices by the end of December.
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