Photo by Charles Wainwright

James T. Walsh


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Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs/ Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee

Congressman Walsh was appointed Chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee (VA-HUD) in 1999 and saw the largest consecutive increase in the budget for Veterans health care.  As Chairman of this committee Congressman Walsh was responsible for billions of federal dollars that went to Veterans Affairs, Urban Development, NASA and science initiatives, and aided his district and much of New York State in the process.  

Syracuse VA Medical Center Emergency Department

Congressmen Walsh successfully increased the budget for veterans' healthcare and was able to bring some of that money back to his constituents.  He arranged funding for the building of the Syracuse VA Medical Center Emergency Department which was constructed in  Walsh's hometown of Syracuse, NY.

The hospital system in Syracuse and Central New York was in need of newer, up-to-date facilities.  During a time when many hospitals were built and renovated, Walsh secured $3.8 million dollars in federal money for the building of the Emergency Room.  This emergency room added more jobs and better facilities in an area where 22,000 veterans lived within 45 minutes of the hospital.  The facility expected to see 13,000 patients which was a 45% increase over previous years.  More funds were appropriated later to add a new MRI facility at a cost of $3.5 million.  Walsh was also able to appropriate money for a six story Spinal Cord Injury Center addition to the VA medical Center in 2008.

Walsh received many letters from constituents, which are located in the collection, asking for Veterans health care budget increases and citing specific cases where Veterans were not properly cared for due to insufficient facilities/programs. Walsh responded to these complaints and his efforts were acknowledged as you can see above and to the right. 


A lot of the work Walsh did while on the VA-HUD subcommittee was working to assist veterans in the state of New York, especially those in his district. But he did more than just help his veteran constituents. Walsh worked on issues that affected veterans across the nation. Some of the bills and resolutions he cosponsored and worked on dealt with providing better access to care and improving care for veterans. One example of this is a bill Walsh cosponsored called the "Duty to Assist Veterans Act of 1999." The purpose of this bill was to have a return to the VA assisting veterans in obtaining materials needed to prove a "well-grounded claim." He also supported a resolution in 2007 to improve care for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Walsh's Critics

As the Chairman of the VA-HUD subcommittee Walsh was among the "13 Cardinals of Spending".  This was the term given to those who oversaw most of what the federal Budget was spent on.  As a "Cardinal", Walsh had much responsibility and control over U.S. taxpayers' dollars.  While he was on this subcommittee he guided large increases in funding for a variety of projects.  During George W. Bush's terms, as with most presidents, government spending was examined after issues were raised concerning wasteful governmental spending.  Congressman Walsh and the other Cardinals' positions were reviewed concerning how much power they really had or should have.  Attacks from the media were not uncommon yet they often overlooked the benefits of the money that Walsh had appropriated.


This page was created by Brian Kelvie for the Spring 2009 History 419 class.