CVA urges Senators to Support Real VA Reform, Not Compromise on Watered-Down Reform
Arlington, Va. – Today, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released a web ad aimed at urging senators to support real reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The video features remarks President Obama made at the White House last week, where he said, “Before we start spending more money [at the VA], our first job is to take care of some basic management issues.”
The president also acknowledged there is a need to fix VA’s broken culture. CVA agrees with the president on both accounts, which is why CVA is calling on the U.S. Senate to resist the temptation to compromise on watered-down VA reform, and instead pass two pieces of legislation that represent real reform—the VA Management Accountability Act (S.2013) and the Veterans Choice Act.
Since President Obama took office, the VA’s budget has grown by over 50 percent along with significant increases in the number of VA employees and per patient spending at VA hospitals. Moreover, VA will carry over a $450 million healthcare funding surplus to 2015 and currently has over 1,000 unfilled “physician” positions on their books. Yet, the backlog of disability claims has increased dramatically, wait times at VA hospitals have grown longer, and incidents of misconduct by VA employees have become more commonplace. The problems at VA are cultural and not rooted in a lack of resources.
“Congress must resist the temptation to throw more money at the problem—and instead stand up for immediate and real reforms that will address both the immediate crisis and long-term cultural problems,” said CVA CEO Pete Hegseth. “The House has stepped up for real VA reform, but the Senate—specifically Senators Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders—is sitting on two powerful reforms that could immediately make the lives of veterans better. Advocates of real reform have the high ground, and there is no reason to give in to a watered-down compromise bill. Now is the time to start fixing the VA.”
CVA strongly opposes the new Bernie Sanders-led bill that attempts to pass faux accountability language and faux choice language—rather than embracing real, systemic reforms. Yesterday, CVA formally endorsed the Veterans Choice Act and continues to support the VA Management Accountability Act, which passed the House 390-33 and currently has 52 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the Senate. CVA is joined in supporting both bills by The American Legion, IAVA, and AMVETS.
“Americans are cynical about Washington because politicians are very good at screaming about reform, but then run for the hills when asked to actually support real reform. Now is the time to stand up and be counted, and veterans will not accept compromise for the sake of compromise,” concluded Hegseth.
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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.