Jackie Walorski

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Fox & Friends - Walorski reacts to latest VA report

2014/12/17

Earlier today, Rep. Walorski appeared on Fox & Friends to comment on a recent report that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs misled the American public about how many veterans died or suffered serious harm as a result of extreme treatment delays. “It's outrageous that we ask our best and brightest to go fight for our freedom and liberty and they come home and the government turns its back on them. This cannot continue,” said Walorski. “The VA has lied to the American people again.” Click here to watch the interview or click on the image below. [[{"fid":"391","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Report shows VA call center often ignored homeless veterans

2014/12/12

[[{"fid":"389","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]] WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 40,000 homeless veterans who reached out for help from a national Veterans Affairs call center last year didn’t get connected with the services they needed. Much of the time, they didn’t even get a real person. A recently-released audit from the VA’s Inspector General found that 27 percent of those who phoned the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013 got an answering machine, not a counselor, even though most of those calls were placed between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Investigators found that counselors at the center, which has a $3.2 million budget, actually spent less than 10 percent of their time handling those homeless calls. During nearly 50 percent of their shifts, counselors were either not logged in to the computerized referral system, on breaks or in training, the IG said. “You can’t have 40,000 people falling through the crack of an unmanned system and call this thing … productive and successful,” Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said in an interview with Scripps News before an oversight hearing Thursday on VA homeless services. “And you can’t allow this trend inside the VA where nobody is held accountable…nobody is reporting to anybody.” Almost 13,000 of the veterans who left messages got no help because their requests were inaudible or failed to include contact information. Another 3,300 who had left all the necessary information still got no referrals to VA medical centers. “This is unacceptable in any government agency, particularly a population as vulnerable as this one is,’’  Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,  said during the hearing. The Inspector General recommended that VA officials end the use of the answering machine system and use call data to assess the quality of support services, set performance measures and other standards to ensure counselors are accessible and make proper referrals from the calls. “We regret that any veteran calling for information and referrals did not get the information they needed,”   Lisa Pape, Executive Director of  Homeless Programs for the Veterans Health Administration,  told the committee. She said her department, which is part of the VA, has started making improvements. Changes in the works include a new phone system that doesn’t require waiting for a callback and ensures veterans can stay on the line, and a new workforce tracking system to better monitor time spent on calls and other duties. Staff shifts have also been adjusted to put the most employees at the center during peak call hours. Pape said right now, 90 percent of calls to the center are being answered by a counselor. Pape said she did not know if any employees or managers had left, but that officials are reviewing the management of the center and whether disciplinary action is needed. “When the vulnerable veterans call, we at least owe them a person, a solution, and every benefit that was promised to them,” said Walorski. Read More

Homeless veteran hotline audit reveals multiple failures

2014/12/12

[[{"fid":"388","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]] Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned Department of Veterans Affairs officials during a hearing Thursday on veteran homelessness. A report released last week found that the VA’s Homeless Hotline Call Center, which was established to help homeless veterans, missed thousands of opportunities to provide assistance. The hotline, which costs more than $3 million a year, "failed to answer, check on, or provide services to tens of thousands of veterans who called its help line." Walorski and other members of the committee heard from officials in order to determine if the VA has taken necessary actions to provide homeless and at-risk veterans with appropriate housing, healthcare, and training and employment opportunities. “The OIG report is embarrassing to our nation’s brave men and women,” Walorski said. “Almost 50,000 veterans experience homelessness on any given night and yet we cannot even help the ones who reach out for help. This is another example of the persistent lack of accountability at the VA and cannot continue.” Key findings from the report included: • The OIG found that of the nearly 80,000 phone calls made to the hotline, there were roughly 40,500 missed opportunities where the Call Center either did not refer the Homeless Veterans’ calls to VA medical facilities. • The Inspector General could not account for a significant amount of the counselors’ time. • Counselors often did not log in or did not spend the entire day logged into the Call Center telephone system. • Counselors who worked the night shift were not logged into the telephone system and were unavailable to answer calls an average of 4 hours each night. “It’s clear this call center, which is costing American taxpayers millions of dollars, is failing our nation’s finest. I hope Secretary McDonald will move quickly to enact the recommendations from the report and look forward to receiving an update in the coming weeks and months,” said Walorski. Read More

Walorski Questions Officials on Veteran’s Homelessness

2014/12/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials during a hearing on veteran’s homelessness regarding a report released last week that found a hotline established to help homeless veterans missed thousands of opportunities to provide assistance. The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report concerning the VA’s Homeless Hotline Call Center, which costs over $3 million a year, failed to answer, check on, or provide services to tens of thousands of veterans who called its help line. Walorski, and members of the committee, heard from officials in order to determine if the VA has taken necessary actions to provide homeless and at-risk veterans with appropriate housing, healthcare, and training and employment opportunities. “The OIG report is embarrassing to our nation’s brave men and women,” Walorski said. “Almost 50,000 veterans experience homelessness on any given night and yet we can even help the ones who reach out for help. This is another example of the persistent lack of accountability at the VA and cannot continue.” Key findings from the report included: The OIG found that of the nearly 80,000 phone calls made to the hotline, there were roughly 40,500 missed opportunities where the Call Center either did not refer the Homeless Veterans’ calls to VA medical facilities. The Inspector General could not account for a significant amount of the counselors’ time. Counselors often did not log in or did not spend the entire day logged into the Call Center telephone system. Counselors who worked the night shift were not logged into the telephone system and were unavailable to answer calls an average of 4 hours each night.              “It’s clear this call center, which is costing American taxpayers millions of dollars,  is failing our nation’s finest. I hope Secretary McDonald will move quickly to enact the recommendations from the report and look forward to receiving an update in the coming weeks and months,” said Walorski. Click here to watch Walorski’s remarks or click on the image below.   [[{"fid":"387","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]]   Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee.   ### Read More

Walorski Applauds Legislation to Lower Military Suicide among Troops & Veterans

2014/12/09

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to reduce the number of veterans and troops who commit suicide, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today supported legislation she co-sponsored to increase access and improve the quality of mental health care administered to veterans. H.R. 5059, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, helps to reduce the number of military and veteran suicides by providing greater access to mental health care. According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), 22 veterans commit suicide every day. “Every day, veterans take their own lives and I’ve experienced this same tragedy in my district. Our brave servicemen and women face a number of challenges when transitioning back to civilian life. They shouldn’t have to navigate a bureaucratic nightmare within the VA in order to receive help.  We must improve the access and effectiveness of mental health care available to our returning heroes,” Walorski said. The bill was named in honor of Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran, Clay Hunt who took his own life after battling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his service overseas. Hunt relied on the VA for care and received a 30 percent disability rating for his PTSD. He appealed the rating and encountered administrative obstacles, including the VA losing his files. Hunt took his life weeks later. Five weeks after his death, and 18 months after filing an appeal with the VA for his PTSD rating, his appeal was approved. “Clay embodied what it meant to live a life of service, both in and out of uniform. Together, we can change this system so no other veteran ever has to endure what thousands of veterans have gone through, including Clay,” Walorski said. Specifically the bill: Requires suicide-prevention programs within the Defense Department and VA undergo a third-party evaluation. Examines which mental health programs could be improved. Requires a website be established that focuses on mental health services for veterans. Encourages improved collaboration between the VA and outside veteran’s advocacy groups. Earlier today, Walorski spoke on the floor of the U.S. House in favor of the bill.  She also heard testimony from Hunt’s mother who testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in July. The bill now heads to the Senate for further action. Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee.   ### Read More

WSJ: Hotline to Help Homeless Veterans Falls Short, Inspector General Says

2014/12/05

A Department of Veterans Affairs hotline established to help homeless veterans missed thousands of opportunities to help at-risk vets last year, the agency’s inspector general said. The VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, launched in mid-2012, didn’t consistently ensure that veterans who called the hotline received access to support services, according to findings released Wednesday. “This is a huge national problem, our veterans deserve to have the phone answered when they call for help,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R., Ind.), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said in an interviewThursday. Ms. Walorski said this isn’t a one-off issue at the VA, but shows the depth of problems that face VA Secretary Robert McDonald , who has been at the helm since the end of July. “I think it’s symptomatic and we have a long way to go,” Ms. Walorski said. Of the nearly 80,000 calls made to the hotline in fiscal-year 2013, more than 21,000 went to an answering machine because counselors weren’t available, and 13,000 calls weren’t returned because messages were inaudible or callers didn’t leave contact information, the inspector general said. And none of the more than 50,000 referrals made by the call center were monitored or followed up for quality control. “Everyone is pretty disappointed in the execution of the call center,” said Baylee Crone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “The use of the voice-mail system should never have happened. ” The inspector general found counselors “often did not log in or did not spend the entire day logged into the call center telephone system,” and records were inadequate so inspectors couldn't account for time not spent taking calls. Staffing at peak periods was inadequate, and many calls went to an answering machine rather than being handled by a counselor. “In our opinion, the majority of these calls could have been answered by counselors, instead of the answering machine,” the report said. An inspector-general spokeswoman said the center had 60 workers at the time of the audit. The VA concurred with the report’s findings and agreed to eliminate the use of answering machines, develop new training for counselors, and establish a system to measure employee performance—all things targeted for completion in early 2015. The VA is also in the middle of an overhaul known as the MyVA program, which includes streamlining the agency and improving customer service. “As VA undergoes a major transformation to better serve Veterans thorough the MyVA initiative, we will be looking at how call centers like the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans and others can be organized to make it easier for Veterans to take advantage of the services and benefits that Veterans have earned and deserve,” the VA said. “Their plan is pretty ambitious,” said a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office, who said the most pressing concern—that veterans are pushed into voice-mail queues—hasn't necessarily been addressed. “We’re not sure that if we called today that we wouldn’t get sent to an answering machine,” she said. The inspectors will check back with the VA in three months to check on progress of fixes. In 2009, then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. The number of homeless vets fell by 33% since 2010 to just under 50,000 in January 2014, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Shinseki resigned in April, amid a scandal after whistleblowers exposed systemic problems at the department.including employees who routinely misreported patient wait times to make it seem as if benchmarks were being met. Long patient wait timesdidn’t directly cause patient deaths, but did contribute to them, according to inspectors. Congress passed a more-than $16 billion emergency funding bill to help VA fill staffing gaps and speed treatment to vets who had been waiting for appointments. In July, Mr. McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble Co. was named new secretary and immediately embarked on a nationwide tour of VA facilities and kicked off an effort to revamp the VA. Write to Ben Kesling at benjamin.kesling@wsj.com Read More

Walorski Statement on Nomination of Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense

2014/12/05

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued the following statement following today’s nomination of Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense: “As a member of House Armed Services Committee,  I have worked with Ashton Carter previously and believe he is fully capable of performing his new duties as Secretary of Defense. Like his three predecessors, he must provide a strategy to protect our nation and our allies while the president continues to cut the defense budget.  I look forward to working with him after his Senate confirmation.” Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee.   ### Read More

Walorski Lauds Passage of Annual Defense Spending Bill

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3979 –  the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015, by a vote of 300-119. The NDAA, which is the annual bill to authorize defense spending, now heads to the Senate for further action. “For the 53rd year in a row, Congress has passed the NDAA to ensure our military continues to have the best people, training, and resources to protect our country. From war-time operations in the Middle East, to health care programs for veterans and their families, and DOD contractors in the U.S., America will continue to maintain the strongest and best military in the world.   “Threats from countries overseas - including Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, is a growing threat.  I’m pleased that language I co-authored with Rep. Roskam (IL-06) to require the Obama Administration to provide a report on the status of Iran’s nuclear program and its compliance with the interim nuclear agreement was included in the final bill. “I also want to thank retiring Chairman Buck McKeon, for his tireless service to our fighting men and women and I wish him all the best. I’m proud to continue to serve on behalf of our service members who defend and fight for our nation and provide them with the resources and equipment they need to uphold America’s global presence to face current threats and prepare for new ones.” Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee. ### Read More

Walorski Supports Financial Security & Independence for Disabled Americans

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) supported helping individuals with disabilities by voting for H.R. 647, the ‘Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act’.   The bill, which Walorski co-sponsored, allows families to create tax-free savings accounts, similar to college savings accounts, for their child with disabilities to allow them to be economically self-sufficient when they enter adulthood. “Many American families currently enjoy tax incentives to save for future expenses including college, retirement, and other life events,” said Walorski. “Sadly, our tax code does not provide the same options to people with disabilities, leaving them with few choices to save for their future.” The legislation is intended to ease the financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by amending Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill does not replace, rather supplements the benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, the supplemental social security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. “This bill is about so much more than just a savings account,” Walorski said. “Finally, we can level the playing field for everyone, especially for the millions of Americans with autism and other disorders who want the ability to one day live on their own, receive an education and find a job.” H.R. 647 passed the House by a vote of 404-17 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration. ### Read More

Walorski Statement on President Obama’s Announcement of Executive Action on Immigration

2014/11/21

WASHINGTON, DC —Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued the following statement tonight after President Obama’s announcement to act unilaterally on immigration reform: “At a time when Americans want Washington to work together, I’m disappointed that instead of working with Congress to find real solutions, the president has decided to abuse his executive powers, break the law and ignore the Constitution at the expense of resolving a national crisis. “This week, I joined with the Republican Women’s Policy Committee and sent a letter to President Obama urging him to abandon any unconstitutional executive actions on immigration reform and instead work with Congress and the people of this great nation. “There is no question that the current immigration system is broken and there is a growing need for reform, but denying members of Congress and the American people an opportunity to offer any input only jeopardizes the chance of finding real, workable solutions.” ### Read More

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Contact Information

419 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3915
Fax 202-225-6798
walorski.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Budget

Veterans Affairs

Armed Services

Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier born and raised in South Bend.

Jackie has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. As the daughter of an Air Force Veteran and South Bend Firefighter, Jackie learned the value of public service at a young age. Her parents also established a family-owned appliance repair shop, teaching Jackie the challenges and fulfillment of operating a small business.

Jackie attended Riley High School and graduated with a BA from Taylor University.  As her first job out of college, she worked as a reporter for WSBT-TV, covering community issues ranging from education to crime.  Inspired to get more involved in the education system, Jackie later worked as a Development Director for local colleges and universities to improve educational access for Hoosier students.

In 1995, she married her husband Dean, a Mishawaka schoolteacher and jazz musician.  Shortly after, the couple moved abroad to Romania for 4 years, founding their own agency and local foundation to help provide much-needed medical supplies to the country’s impoverished children.

Jackie is grateful to serve the people of Indiana’s Second District in the 113th Congress, where she serves on the House Armed Services, Budget, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. She is honored to serve the brave men and women of our Armed Forces in many ways, including improved support for our nation’s veterans. Using some Hoosier common sense, Jackie welcomes the opportunity to work across the aisle to get our fiscal house in order and create American jobs.

Jackie currently resides in Jimtown with her husband Dean, mother Martha, and their 3 dogs.


Serving With

Marlin Stutzman

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Todd Rokita

INDIANA's 4th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT

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