Dear Friend,

Preventing Guantanamo Detainees from Being Transferred to Colorado

Earlier this week, I learned the Department of Defense (DoD) spent federal funds studying sites in Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina to relocate prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) despite specific prohibitions of such spending in the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Obama. The DoD spent the most money - $11,064.33 - surveying the facility in Florence, CO as a possible relocation site.  

The Obama Administration’s use of federal funds to survey potential relocation sites for Guantanamo Bay detainees is in direct contradiction to current law. This represents a blatant abuse of power and disregard for a law that President Obama himself signed. Nearly one year ago, I wrote President Obama asking what legal basis he has for transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, and have yet to receive a response. I will pursue all potential options available to hold the Administration accountable for its illegal action, and continue to work to ensure that the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay stay in Cuba and out of our backyards.

Obamacare's Devastating Impact on Coloradans

This week, Coloradans learned that insurance premiums for the individual market in Colorado will increase by 20.4% on average in 2017. Once again, Coloradans will be faced with skyrocketing premium increases thanks to a law that was sold to them on the premise of affordability, choice, and access to care. President Obama repeatedly told the American people that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” and stated the average family of four would pay $2,500 less annually by the end of his first term under his signature health care law. Now, these broken promises are having a dramatic effect on hardworking families in Colorado and throughout the country. This week's news is devastating for the thousands of Coloradans who now may face difficult choices.

It’s critical that we work together toward real solutions that address the unintended consequences of the President’s health care laws and the negative, visible impact it’s having on individuals, families, and small businesses. I’ll continue to fight for an approach that aims to deliver real health care reform by controlling costs and protecting the doctor-patient relationship.

Click here or on the image below to watch my remarks on the Senate floor. 

Congressional Oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General released a report that follows an investigation into the Aurora VA hospital construction project. The report confirms what Coloradans have long suspected: the VA grossly mismanaged the project from day one and ignored warning signs that the project would be over budget. According to the OIG, Glenn Haggstrom, the VA official responsible for overseeing the project, failed to disclose to Congress during Congressional testimony in 2013 and 2014, never disclosing that the project would likely surpass its budget of $800 million. The VA also prematurely started construction without completed design plans, and rejected cost reduction plans that would have resulted in approximately $400 million in savings.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars evaporated due to the VA’s incompetence, and the people who have suffered most are the Colorado veterans who have been forced to wait for the new facility they were promised for far too long. Now that the OIG investigation is complete, the VA officials responsible for the blatant systemic failures and enormous cost overruns that plagued the project must be held accountable. No more get out of jail free cards. I was proud the Senate passed legislation that would prevent the VA from managing construction projects over $100 million, and I will continue to work to ensure that this VA-born disaster is not replicated.

During a visit to the construction site earlier this month, I was assured the project will meet the new time and budget. I will continue to request updates on the project’s progress and look forward to when the state-of-the-art facility opens its doors. Veterans deserve the best medical care this country has to offer, and I’ll continue to fight to see the VA deliver on its promise.

Additionally, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and I wrote to Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal on Monday requesting that he open an inquiry into a whistleblower report of possible “wait lists” that may have contributed to a veteran's suicide while waiting for PTSD treatment at a Colorado Springs VA facility. This whistleblower has alleged the facility might have falsified the veteran’s medical records following his death.

You can read the letter here.

Celebrating the Air Force's 69th Birthday

I spoke on the Senate floor to congratulate the United States Air Force on their 69th Birthday and recognized that this year marks the 40th anniversary that women cadets have enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Colorado is proud to host the Air Force Academy, and I thank all of our men and women in uniform for their service. Aim High. Fly, Fight, Win!

Watch my remarks here.

 

Need Help with a Federal Agency? 

My staff is available to assist you with finding out the status of a case and requesting additional information from a federal agency. I have offices in Denver, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, Greeley, Yuma, and Colorado Springs. Learn more about how we can help here

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update. If I can be of any assistance to you, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-5941.

 

Sincerely,

Cory Gardner

United States Senator

 

 

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