- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree is pushing for the federal government to speed up the approval of leases at veterans’ health care facilities in Portland and around the country.

Pingree, a Democrat, says leases at veterans’ facilities in Portland and 17 other sites in the U.S. need Congressional approval. The Portland lease is necessary to expand an outpatient clinic.

She says bureaucratic rules are slowing up the approval process. She sent a letter to the top members of the Veterans Affairs Committee calling on them to authorize the federal Department of Veterans Affairs’ major medical facility leases that are currently pending.

The rules slowing the approval have to do with the average annual rental payments at the facilities.

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have also pushed for lease approval.

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