I'm standing on the top floor of a medical center that is supposed to be open.
It is not.
In fact, it's not even close.
Five months after the promised opening of the VA Medical Center, there are unfinished concrete floors, missing ceilings and scores of walls that consist of nothing more than aluminum frame.
We're now talking about opening dates in 2014 ... on a project that broke ground in 2008.
Depending on whom you talk to, these delays are either the fault of an inept contractor or government bumbling.
Frankly, I don't care who's to blame. Not right now, anyway.
I just want the darn thing done.
The latest sideshow — talk about ousting the lead contractor when the project is finally heading down the homestretch — would simply waste more time.
Just finish building the massive complex, and then let everyone sue the pants off each other once the doors are open.
That may be the unspoken truce arranged between officials with the VA and the contractor, Brasfield & Gorrie. At least it seemed that way as I toured the complex Monday with U.S. Reps. John Mica and Corrine Brown.
Like naughty kids who'd been acting up while their parents were out, both the VA and contractor play nicely during the tour.
Nothing to see here, Mom. You can put your switch away, Dad.
Brown and Mica scrutinize the project's delays from predictably polarized viewpoints.
Brown, the Democrat, suspects the contractor didn't put enough workers on the job.
Mica, the Republican, portrays the VA as an agency that can't change a light bulb without five bureaucrats and six change-orders. "There is something dysfunctional about the VA," he says. "But I'm not going to point fingers."
He's not pointing fingers, you understand.
Throughout the tour, I meander off with each congressional member. In doing so, it becomes clear that, while they have different takes on who is to blame, right now, they just want the project complete.
So do the subcontractors — some of whom are so far behind on getting paid that it's putting their businesses at risk.
Just as importantly, so do the veterans.