House Republicans sound off on the broken VA system

May 28, 2014 | Communications •


Our veterans deserve better
-Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)

“The White House says President Obama is “madder than hell” about the reports of negligence at the VA, a line he has repeated throughout his administration…  In fact, when the Obamacare website failed, Obama reacted immediately by pouring resources into it and recruiting top technology experts from around the country to help fix the problem. Where is that same urgency with the VA?

“As the wife, mother and daughter of U.S. servicemen, I’m mad too — we all should be — but it will take more than anger to address the systemic lack of accountability at the VA. It requires action.

Congress’ oversight into the VA is ongoing, and we are prepared to take our efforts all the way up the chain of command based on where the facts lead. Our veterans have fulfilled their commitment to our country in ways that most of us can only imagine. It is our job in Congress to ensure that Washington upholds its end of the bargain.”


We must improve Veterans Affairs
-Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)

Without a doubt, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs to do better by our veterans. The VA claims backlog is inexcusable, delaying a veteran’s access to medical care through the use of ‘secret wait lists’ is unconscionable, and rewarding those who perpetuate these failures is flat-out wrong. 

“The House version of the fiscal 2015 military construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill is another step in the right direction.

“The bill, which I sponsored, passed with a resounding 416-1 vote. It includes additional funds for the VA inspector general so that office can continue to spotlight any use of ‘secret wait lists’ until that practice is completely eradicated from the VA. It also includes increased funding for the activities within the Veterans Benefits Administration that have proven successful at reducing the claims backlog.

“These are tough budgetary times, but Congress has a chance to make real, tangible improvements in our veterans’ lives with bills like these. It’s a chance we can’t pass up.”


VA rotten to core: We owe it to our veterans to seek fundamental reform
-Air Force veteran and Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH)

“The men and women who’ve chosen to serve America are preserving our freedoms in near anonymity, often in dangerous shadows on the other side of the world. 

“Our troops protect our freedoms at the edges of civilization, and our veterans quietly suffer indignities at the hands of a federal agency that has grown too large, too cold, and unaccountable. This must change.

“Americans in 2014 enjoy the highest quality of life that mankind has ever seen. It’s been achieved through the hard work and innovation of the American people, and preserved by those relatively few Americans who have been willing to lay down their lives in service to their nation – our nation.

“It’s time to show our veterans how thankful we are for their service. It’s time to fundamentally reform the VA.”


VA health-care scandals must spark quick reforms
-Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)

These allegations are alarming, horrific and outrageous. The VA scandal is a national disgrace, and American people and our veterans expect quick and the decisive leadership from the Obama Administration.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should resign. And the President must immediately address the systemic problems — unaccountable bureaucracy, long waiting lists, rationed care — that are plaguing our veterans’ health care system.

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Our veterans deserve better from their government
-Rep. Luke Messer (R-ID)

 “Accessing the VA health system has been too difficult and time consuming for too long. The backlog in disability claims-especially in Indiana-is lengthy. The quality of care at some VA facilities has been questionable.

“Persistent problems must be fixed, inefficient processes and ineffective practices must be overhauled, and inappropriate or criminal behavior must be stopped. Those responsible for these failures should be held accountable.

“The brave men and women who fought foreign enemies to defend our way of life shouldn’t have to fight their own country to receive the care and benefits they earned as a result of their service.”


A painful truth
-Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)

“Truly, loved ones cherish the moment when their veteran returns home. But what about our heroes who do not come home?

“For those of us fortunate enough to have had our loved ones who served return home, Memorial Day serves as a day for us all to stand in solidarity and pay tribute to those who, as Lincoln wrote, ‘laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.’

“We have a duty to honor our lost heroes by doing all that we can to protect these rights for which they valiantly fought. Freedom isn’t free.”

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Benefits to our veterans need to be a top priority
-Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)

“Our warriors have served us and now we have a duty to serve them and ensure their successful transition back to civilian life. 

“I introduced the Service Members Transition Improvement Act, a bipartisan effort to assist service members as they transition to civilian life by strengthening the connection between the separating soldiers and veteran service organizations. The bill was recently included as an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act passed in the House of Representatives.

Veterans benefits are deserved and earned through service and sacrifice and it’s important that both Republicans and Democrats work together to give these men and women the assistance and tools they need to be successful when they come home.”