Walter Reed closure questioned

March 7, 2007 at 1:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- Federal lawmakers say they plan to introduce legislation that would prevent the scheduled closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Recent reports of substandard facilities and a difficult to penetrate bureaucracy at the hospital have shined a new light on the facility and led to questions of why it is being closed during war time, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Army officials testified that problems at the hospital are being worsened by anticipation of the facility's closing in 2011. Commanders said the planned closing is causing "instability" among the work force.

"The BRAC pressure is clear," said Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, a District of Columbia non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. "What it does is send the signal to everybody: Go look for another job because we think it's going to close down."

Norton said she plans to submit legislation to the House that would prevent Walter Reed's closing.

"I think we should take a second look at that decision about Walter Reed," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.

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