Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell took his case for keeping the Veterans Hospital in Knoxville open right to the top man today. Boswell, a democrat, met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi to discuss the proposed closing of the Knoxville facility. Boswell says the closing would lead to a net loss of 106 beds. Boswell says he told the secretary that will all the uncertainties about Iraq and Afghanistan — with people being injured every day — this is not a time to be giving up beds. Boswell says he’s convinced the secretary to visit the Knoxville facility.He says they’ll walk the grounds and look over the facility. Boswell says he doesn’t know if the visit will change anything, but he says it’s a good thing to get the secretary to come out and have a look. Boswell says others are pushing to keep their facilities open too, but he says he’ll show the secretary how money’s been invested to improve the Knoxville facilities.He says he understands there are people upset about closings of buildings and bases all over the country, but Boswell says those are just bricks and mortar. He says Knoxville is a facility for veterans when we don’t know what the need will be. Boswell says the 226 beds at Knoxville are in a facility that’s been upgraded and is up to code. Boswell says they haven’t set an exact time for the secretary’s visit, but he says it should be in the next couple of months.
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