Members of Congress said Monday that while they are grateful for the return of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who was held as a prisoner in Mexico for seven months, they worry that his next challenge will be getting proper treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
And given the VA's poor track record given the VA health care scandal and its efforts to cover up that scandal, members of Congress said they'll be watching very closely to see how the VA treats Tahmooressi.
When asked on Fox News whether the VA would ensure Tahmooressi gets the care he needs, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he and others would make sure of it.
"They really must step up now, and I think there's going to be a lot of attention from Congress on this issue," Royce said.
Royce worked with Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and others to fight for Tahmooressi's release from Mexico, which held him in prison after he crossed the border carrying guns. Tahmooressi said he crossed the border accidentally, and his diagnosed PTSD was seen as a factor in the incident.
While Mexico finally released him, Tahmooressi has reported to family and friends that he was beat up and torturned, and tried to take his own life. Several of his supporters have warned that he may be at risk of developing PTSD from his imprisonment in Mexico, on top of the PTSD he developed during two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
"Now that he's out, that's half the battle," Salmon said on Fox News. "We still got a long way to go yet."
"He's got a long road ahead of him, and I think that those of us that have been working with him for the last several months have to be still engaged to make sure that he gets the care necessary," Salmon added. "Because the time that he spent in that Mexican prison, he told his mom that that was even more harrowing than his two tours of duty in Afghanistan."
Tahmooressi lives in Florida, and his congresswoman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) said Monday that she would work to ensure the VA helps him.
"We've got a great VA systme here, we're going to make sure he gets the care he needs," she said.
Tahmooressi was released after Mexican officials decided they could not treat his PTSD in Mexico, and after members of Congress helped verify his medical disorder. Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration for failing to do more to secure a faster release for Tahmooressi.
"The fact that Our president did literally nothing himself, and the White House didn't extend any kind of a hand to help him just makes me angrier than angry," Salmon said Monday.
"The administration... did nothing," Ros-Lehtinen added.