Friday, March 22, 2013

McCarthy: Not satisfied with responses from the Veterans Affairs Department about the backlog of claims made by our veterans

 Our weekly update from Capitol Hill, brought to use by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip. In his own words:

 "This week, I was honored to be one of the first guests on First Look with Scott Cox.  It was good to catch up with Scott and Richard on this new media endeavor. We discussed issues being debated on Capitol Hill, like immigration, education, tax reform, and the budget.  We have a broken system that needs to be fixed and the biggest roadblock to those issues is the fiscal mess facing our nation.  That is why I believe in putting our nation on a more fiscally-sound path so we can properly address the challenges facing our nation. One of those challenges lies within the VA, and the VA leadership’s inability to ensure that our veterans receive benefits and care in a timely manner.

 "I am proud that our communities make up one of the most patriotic regions in the nation and we must honor and care for those who defend our freedoms. That is why the backlogs and wait times that our veterans endure at the VA is unacceptable. I told some of their stories at a congressional hearing with a top Veterans Affairs Department official this week, and frankly, I am not satisfied with their responses and commitments to fix the ongoing problems in the VA.  When many are seeing their budgets reduced, the VA has seen theirs increased along with a significant increase in their workforce.  Yet, their productivity is down significantly and has failed to keep pace with the amount of new claims.  On a local level, after being audited at the request of Congress, the VA chose to shut down the Los Angeles Regional Office for four weeks to retrain its employees in order to increase quality, yet evidence shows delays continue as normal according to the VA’s own Monday Morning Workload Reports.  The problem we’re seeing is a flaw in the VA’s leadership to demand results, and unfortunately, I am coming to the conclusion that without continued Congressional oversight, this Administration is either unable or unwilling to implement the necessary changes to better serve our veterans.  Those changes aren’t hard to identify; the independent GAO audit that I called for makes recommendations that can and should be implemented immediately. If the VA doesn’t take proper action, our veterans can be assured that the House will.

 "In the next few weeks, I will welcome more of our local World War II veterans to our nation’s capital on another Honor Flight from Kern County.  They remind me not only of the sacrifice our veterans have made for our freedom, but also the sacrifices made by their generation to transform America into a nation of economic prosperity.

 "And this week in Washington, I worked to continue our fight to rein in reckless Washington spending and balance the budget.  I voted for the Path to Prosperity, a responsible budget that passed the House that eliminates annual deficits within ten years, simplifies the tax code, repeals Obamacare, and strengthens and protects programs like Medicare.  By balancing the budget, we can build a growing economy that creates jobs, reduces uncertainty, and takes us off the path to insolvency.  Unfortunately, the President and Senate Democrats have indicated that balancing the budget is not a high priority, and the proposed Senate Democratic budget demonstrates just that; it has no plan to ever balance the budget.  I believe, as billions of dollars in interest compounds on our $16.7 trillion national debt, that this is not only the wrong policy because it will weigh down any economic recovery, but it is also morally wrong because it continues to place the burden of debt onto our children and grandchildren and reduces their future opportunities for success.   In fact, a recent Gallup poll indicated that older and young Americans don’t believe the next generation will have the same opportunities or ability to live better than their parents.  That’s why I will continue fighting for responsible policies that help American families today and to ensure that future generations have greater opportunities to lead the lives they aspire to in a prosperous society.

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