Arlington, VA – Veterans issues have been a hot-button topic this election cycle, but veterans have yet to hear exactly how the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will fix the broken Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and take steps to reduce the $19 trillion debt weakening our economy and military alike.
Hillary Clinton has previously denied that problems at the VA are widespread, frequently uses a misleading strawman argument about VA privatization, and has only offered vague suggestions on VA reform. Some aspects of Donald Trump’s VA reform plan – including expanding choice and firing bad employees – are good in theory, but his plan also lacks specifics.
And while both candidates routinely make promises to rein in spending, neither have proposed specific policy prescriptions that will address America’s looming debt crisis.
Here are 4 pressing questions veterans want moderators to ask at tonight’s presidential debate:
- It’s been over 2 years since the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) wait list scandal broke, but according to the VA’s own data, the situation has gotten even worse. Currently, hundreds of thousands of veterans are waiting over a month to get even basic treatments. Do you believe veterans deserve choice over where and when to see a doctor?
- From the failed F-35 fighter jet program to crashing “surveillance balloons,” the Department of Defense seems to waste billions of taxpayer dollars every year on ill-conceived programs and initiatives. Many in Washington are calling for increased funding at the Department of Defense. Will you prioritize eliminating existing waste before considering significant increases in defense spending?
- Economic stability is crucial to the strength of our nation, but the national debt is $19 trillion and growing by the day. Borrowing trillions of dollars is making our country less safe by hurting our economy and threatening our ability to fund a strong military. What reforms will you enact to cut our deficit and start paying off our national debt?
- The GAO and IG are constantly issuing reports on waste, fraud, and abuse at the VA. As of now, it is difficult to fire bad VA employees and whistleblowers aren’t legitimately protected from retaliation. How will you hold the VA accountable for poor performance and protect those who do speak up?