Last night, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL-1) designating the United States Postal Service facility at 3957 2nd Avenue in Laurel Hill, Florida, as the "Sergeant First Class William 'Kelly' Lacey Post Office." The House of Representatives passed the legislation on May 23rd of this year. Army Sergeant First Class William “Kelly” Lacey was completing his second tour in Afghanistan when his life was tragically taken during a rocket propelled grenade attack.
“Without question Sergeant Lacey embodied the true American spirit and that of a warrior,” Miller said. “He bravely dedicated his life to protecting our freedom and naming this Post Office after him in his home town is just a small way of saying thank you and memorializing his ultimate sacrifice.”
Army Sgt. 1st Class William “Kelly” Lacey died on Jan. 4, 2014, while fending off attackers on his unit’s outpost in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. He died from injuries sustained while protecting his fellow soldiers when enemy combatants breached friendly defensive positions with a car bomb.
“I am humbled to take on this effort to honor Kelly’s sacrifice to our great Nation,” Miller added. “He is a true hero and a fitting example of service, dedication, and excellence in our community.”
The VA’s strained relationship with the truth
By Jeff Miller
The Denver Post
July 9, 2016
The Department of Veterans Affairs has had a lot to say in recent years regarding its failed attempts at building VA hospitals. But the key question is whether VA officials’ construction-related pronouncements are to be believed.
When it comes to the VA’s long and troubled history with major construction projects, American veterans and taxpayers deserve the truth, which it seems VA leaders are not providing.
During a recent visit to the site of the VA hospital in Aurora — the biggest construction failure in VA history — Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson claimed he had planned to fire one VA employee for bungling the project, which is more than $1 billion over budget. According to Gibson, however, the employee in question retired before the firing commenced.
It’s quite odd that this seemingly crucial detail is only surfacing now — nearly a year and a half after the project imploded in December 2014. So the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has asked the VA to provide the proof backing up Gibson’s claim, which — given the department’s history of misleading statements regarding a range of construction issues — is entirely warranted.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago when VA Secretary Bob McDonald, speaking at an April event in Colorado, attempted to take credit for reforms to the VA’s construction process in the wake of the Aurora construction debacle. In reality, the changes were actually forced on VA by Congress after years of claims from department officials that the project was on track and on budget.
But these sorts of bizarre claims are par for the course at the VA, such as when, in the aftermath of the Aurora project’s implosion, Gibson called VA’s construction management process “pretty good.” It was one of the most out-of-touch statements from any VA leader in recent memory, but it was one of many.
For instance, VA officials have often touted the “lessons learned” from construction of the department’s embattled facility in Orlando, Fla., as key to avoiding similar problems with other projects. “The lessons learned from Orlando and past major construction projects are guiding us in our management of the Denver and New Orleans replacement hospitals,” former VA Construction Chief Glenn Haggstrom said in May of 2013.
But, contrary to Haggstrom’s claim, the only thing VA appears to have learned from Orlando is how to generate hundreds of millions in cost overruns at VA hospitals in Aurora and New Orleans, a facility whose $1 billion-plus cost makes it the second-most expensive hospital in VA history.
The Orlando facility was originally slated to cost around $276 million, but the hospital’s price tag had grown to roughly $665 million when it opened in May of 2015. To make matters worse, the VA is still learning painful lessons in Orlando its leaders never told the public about.
Last year, just months after the hospital had opened, the VA quietly agreed to a series of settlement payments totaling nearly $213 million to the contractor it had hired to build the facility — the same contractor it had previously blamed for many of the project’s problems. Instead of telling Congress and the public about the payments, however, the VA tried to keep them a secret. And if not for a New York Daily News investigation, they would have stayed that way. The payments brought the Orlando facility’s price tag, which VA officials had led the public to believe was around $665 million, to a whopping $878 million.
And so it goes at the VA, where dishonesty among employees is routinely tolerated, and veterans and taxpayers are forced to deal with the consequences.
Whether it’s construction, patient wait-times, health care enrollment and eligibility or any number of other areas, the VA has a long history of misleading the public regarding its mismanagement of important programs. The only way to fix these problems once and for all is for department leaders to be honest about the challenges the VA faces and what is needed to overcome them.
But how can we expect that to happen when the VA’s leaders have such a strained relationship with the truth?
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, a Republican from Chumuckla, Fla., is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.Read More
Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act.
The bill would improve Department of Veterans Affairs opioid safety measures by directing all department hospitals to designate pain management teams, ensuring employees that prescribe opioid drugs receive proper training in pain management and safe opioid prescribing practices, and standardizing safe opioid utilization and tracking practices across the system. The bill also increases accountability by requiring the directors of each VA hospital to certify employees have received the proper training in prescribing opioids. Finally, recognizing the need to ensure safe transition between the Department of Defense and VA, the bill requires an update of joint VA/DoD clinical practice guidelines.
The PROMISE Act is named in honor of Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, who died of mixed drug toxicity while he was an inpatient at the Tomah, Wis., VA Medical Center. A VA investigation found that hospital staff improperly prescribed his medications.
H.R. 4063 now awaits consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bill, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“A bag of pills is simply not a solution to a veteran’s health care needs. That’s why we must act to reduce VA’s reliance on prescription painkillers and ensure that in instances they are prescribed, VA is doing so safely. Veterans and families shouldn’t have to suffer like Jason Simcakoski and his loved ones have, and if the PROMISE Act becomes law, it will help ensure they won’t.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Miller Statement on Senate Veterans Omnibus Legislation
WASHINGTON — Following reports of a deal in the Senate regarding an omnibus package of veterans legislation, Chairman Miller released the following statement:
“News of this deal is a positive development. If what Sens. Isakson and Blumenthal are working on passes the Senate, I look forward to immediately engaging in conference committee negotiations in order to move a VA reform package to the president’s desk.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Miller Statement on Sharon Helman’s Guilty Plea
WASHINGTON — Today Chairman Miller released the below statement regarding former Phoenix VA Medical Center Director Sharon Helman pleading guilty to a felony.
“While I’m pleased Sharon Helman is now facing some consequences for her criminal activity, I’m extremely puzzled as to why the Department of Justice chose to coddle her with a sweetheart plea deal that amounts to nothing more than a weak slap on the wrist. Such extraordinary leniency is an insult to the many veterans who suffered from the malfeasance and mismanagement of the Phoenix VA Health Care System. It’s also a reminder that to this day not a single Phoenix VAHCS employee has been successfully disciplined for wait-time manipulation and the department still refuses to punish two high-level Phoenix VA managers who it found to have retaliated against whistleblowers. Enough is enough. It’s time for VA and the Senate to get in step with veterans and taxpayers and get behind commonsense proposals like the House-passed VA Accountability Act, which would enable the department to quickly purge corrupt and incompetent employees from the payroll and prevent convicted felons from sneaking out the back door with full taxpayer-funded pensions. Until then, VA’s accountability problems will only continue.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The VA Accountability Act would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA employees convicted of felonies committed on the job. It passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate.
The Washington Post, Dec. 16, 2015
In the News
President Obama's Final Budget Request
Miller Media Clips
Upon the release of the President's budget proposal, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held hearing last week to review the Department of Veterans Affairs FY17 budget request. VA is requesting $182.3 billion for FY 2017, including $78.7 billion for discretionary spending, an increase of $3.6 billion from FY 2016. This request for additional resources comes despite the fact that the department has a history of leaving vast sums of money unspent, including $43 million uncovered in June that VA had “no need” for, according to the VA Inspector General.
Over the past year, VA has repeatedly failed to keep its financial house in order. In Denver, a botched construction project is more than $1 billion over budget. The department has routinely wasted millions on lavish art projects, exorbitant relocation benefits and bonuses for failing employees. And last July, VA threatened to shut down hospitals within weeks due to an unforeseen budget shortfall, forcing Congress to give the department access to an additional $3 billion. In classic VA fashion, not a single employee has been held accountable for these monumental failures. The purpose of last week's hearing was to examine the details behind VA’s budget request and determine how the department would use its budget to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of services to veterans while increasing accountability and transparency across the organization. To view my opening remarks and the full hearing, click on the image below.
Meeting with GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro
Meeting with Jewish War Veterans
Wounded Warrior Project Meeting
Meeting with Institute for Human and Machine Cognition CEO Dr. Ken Ford
Edward Jones Grassroots Task Force Team Advisor John Peacock
Northwest Florida NAIOP Meeting
Meeting with American Federation of Government Employees Local President Chris Delbaugh
Special Olympics Meeting
Military Child of the Year
MILLER TO DISCUSS THE VA CRISIS ON FOX NEWS
---8:15 a.m. Central / 9:15 a.m. Eastern---
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) will appear TOMORROW on Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel to discuss the VA crisis and his recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal. Miller is expected to be interviewed at approximately 8:15 a.m. Central Time / 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time.
Who: Congressman Jeff Miller
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) issued the following statement today:
“Once again, the president has shown that when he cannot gather enough support for a proposal, even from members of his own party, he will attempt to get his way by edict and executive order. This administration clearly loathes the Second Amendment, and by attempting to circumvent Congress, President Obama has revealed that he is more concerned with advancing the gun-grabbing agenda than with listening to the American people."Read More
MILLER STATEMENT ON THE RELOCATION OF SYRIAN REFUGEES TO THE U.S.M
“As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it is abundantly clear to me that this Administration has no plan for screening Syrian refugees coming into this country through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This creates a gaping hole in our homeland security and presents an imminent danger for Americans here at home.
Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris highlight the difficulty in defending against a well-organized enemy intent on killing and maiming. I hope you will join Vicki and me in praying for the people of France and for the victims and families affected by the latest attacks.
We must be vigilant in defending our shores. I will continue to oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to this country.”
336 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
United States Representative Jeff Miller serves Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is responsible for authorization and oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.) VA is the second largest department in the federal government with over 300,000 employees and a budget of over $150 billion.
Miller also serves on the House Armed Services Committees (HASC.) As a senior member of HASC, Miller has proven to be a strong advocate for our men and women in uniform, and he is one of the leading proponents of Naval Aviation, Special Operations, and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E.) Miller was instrumental in helping establish Eglin Air Force Base as the joint primary training location for the F-35 Lightning II.
Congressman Miller was appointed to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). The HPSCI provides policy guidance and sets classified funding levels for the sixteen agencies of the Intelligence Community funded by the National Intelligence Program and the Military Intelligence Program. Recently, the Intelligence Committee has held important hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, U.S. Intelligence Operations against Al Qaeda, and Security Clearance Reform.
Congressman Miller also serves on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), where he serves as Vice Chairman of the subcommittee on Transatlantic Defense and Security Cooperation.
Since coming to Congress, Miller has established himself as one of the staunchest conservatives in the House. He has championed numerous tax relief and veterans’ measures and fought for less government, less taxes, and more personal freedom.
Mr. Miller was sworn in as State Representative in 1998 and again in 2000 to serve District 1. He has served as Chairman of the Utilities & Telecommunications Committee. He was also a member of the Congressional Redistricting Committee, the Committee on General Government Appropriations, the Committee on Rules, Ethics & Elections, and the Council for Ready Infrastructure. He is the past Chairman of the Escambia County Legislative Delegation for 1999-2000.
In addition to his prior service as a State Legislator, Congressman Miller is active in the community as a board member of the Santa Rosa County United Way, the Pregnancy Resource Center of Milton, the Gulf Coast Council of Boy Scouts of America, and the Florida FFA Foundation. He is a member of the Florida Historical Society and various area Chambers of Commerce. Congressman Miller is a native Floridian and was born in 1959. Prior to serving in elected office, he was a real estate broker and deputy sheriff. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1984 at the University of Florida.
Representative Miller is married to the former Vicki Griswold. They are members of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Hillary Clinton blames GOP for GI Bill cuts her running mate supports. They don't call her crooked for nothing https://t.co/L7PTxMNe3S
Retweeted by RepJeffMiller
For everyone saying this speech is "too dark", remember - 69% of the nation thinks the USA is on the wrong track. Many will agree w Trump.
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At GOP convention: Trump - 1725 Cruz - 475 Kasich - 120 Rubio - 114 Carson - 7 Bush - 3 Rand - 2 #RNCinCLE
PNJ: Big changes in store for UWF
VP candidate Pence has Marine son at Whiting Field.
SENATE PASSES MILLER BILL HONORING SGT WILLIAM “KELLY” LACEY
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