CVA’s Seven-Figure “A.W.O.L.” Ad Buy Highlights Rep. Braley’s Abysmal 21% Attendance Rate at VA Committee Hearings
Analysis Shows Braley was A.W.O.L at 79% of Full Committee Hearings in the 112th Congress
Arlington, VA: July 25, 2014 – Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) today released a television ad holding Congressman Bruce Braley, Representative for Iowa’s 1st District, accountable for skipping nearly 79% of full House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings during the 112th Congress, which ran from Jan. 3, 2011, through Jan. 3, 2013.
The ad, entitled “A.W.O.L.,” which is part of a $2.4 million television, digital and direct mail buy that will reach Iowans statewide. The buy represents CVA’s latest salvo in its VA Accountability Project — a bipartisan, nationwide multi-media series designed to encourage constituents to call and thank those who fought for America’s veterans—and to urge support real VA reform by those legislators who failed to fight in the past.
Click here to watch “A.W.O.L.” the ad.
“It is an outrage that Representative Braley is boasting of ‘leadership’ on VA issues when he was ‘Absent With-Out Leave’ for a shameful 79% of full House VA Committee hearings from 2011 – 2013,” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of CVA. “The “A.W.O.L.” ad shows how serious CVA is about holding elected officials accountable for their inaction – publicly airing the facts so that constituent pressure will change legislative votes and outcomes. While Iowa’s veterans were languishing on waitlists, Rep. Braley couldn’t even bother to attend his committee’s hearings. Like so many other members of Congress – both Republican and Democrat – who suddenly rediscovered their concern for veterans the day after the VA scandal broke, Rep. Braley should have known about the systemic problems at Iowa’s VA facilities when he was on the House VA Committee and done something to fix them instead of auditioning for his next job.”
According to a CVA analysis of the House Committee’s transcripts, Rep. Braley not only didn’t attend, but failed to even submit content for the Congressional Record in 79% of the full hearings listed on the Government Printing Office website, where the data is publicly available.
In the ad, CVA asks Iowans to call Rep. Braley’s office and urge him to support pro-reform legislation designed to fix the VA’s systemic cultural problems and finally put veterans’ medical needs ahead of VA employees’ compensation and job protection.
In missing three of every four full hearings, Representative Braley – who also serves as the ranking member on the VA Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity – has a disproportionately low rate of attendance, even when compared to other Democratic colleagues with ranking member responsibilities on VA subcommittees. Those members, Reps. McNerney (100%) Donnelly (83%) and Michaud (83%) each had considerably better attendance record than Braley’s appalling 22% during the 112th Congress.
Such an appallingly low attendance record for full committee hearings should be shameful for any lawmaker, but is especially so for Bruce Braley, who prides himself on the claim that “he’s worked so hard for America’s military veterans.” To CVA, it doesn’t matter where Braley’s staff claims he was: Braley wasn’t where he needed to be — working to resolve the huge backlogs that have plagued Iowa’s VA clinics for years. Braley needs to turn his attention, energy, and votes toward VA reform.
A full listing of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s 18 Hearings held during the 112th Congress, including attendance and complete official transcripts can be found here.
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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend