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Senator Shaheen’s VA Reform Brag Fails Against the Facts

By Cody McGregor

Senator Shaheen’s VA Reform Brag Fails Against the Facts

Arlington, Va. – In advance of Thursday evening’s New Hampshire Senate debate, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) is calling out Senator Jeanne Shaheen on a false and misleading statement made at last week’s debate.

Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, issued the following statement:

“Sen. Shaheen bragged that because of her efforts, 129,000 Granite State veterans ‘can now’ access care closer to home. But the next day, her fellow senator, Kelly Ayotte, revealed a dirty little secret: Those reforms have yet to be implemented and therefore not benefitted a single New Hampshire veteran. I wonder how proud Senator Shaheen will be after everyone knows the truth — that the real number of Granite State veterans she has improved care access for is actually ZERO.

“What’s worse, Shaheen refused to support these same measures until months after the VA scandal broke and CVA had run ads in New Hampshire urging her constituents to call and demand she support VA reform. Tonight, CVA is calling for Senator Shaheen to correct the record on her false claims and stop taking election year victory laps over the choice provisions New Hampshire veterans are still waiting for.”

SHAHEEN TOOK CREDIT FOR LEGISLATION THAT ALLOWS NEW HAMPSHIRE VETERANS TO GET CARE CLOSER TO HOME

SHAHEEN: “But the numbers I’m proudest of are the 259 people who were now working at the Berlin prison because I was able to get the prison opened after it sat empty for two years. It was the 1,200 people who were being foreclosed on in their homes who our office worked with to keep them in their homes. It was for the 129,000 veterans who can now get care close to home because of the legislation that Sen. Ayotte and I got into the Veterans Reform Bill.” (“Audience Laughs At Sen. Shaheen for Dodging Question About Approval of Obama,” Real Clear Politics, 10/21/2014)

Click Here to Listen to the Audio

BUT THE NEXT DAY, SEN. AYOTTE REVEALED THAT WHAT SHAHEEN SAID IS WRONG 

HOST: “If a vet today in Rochester, Portsmouth, Manchester wants to go get a cervical disc repaired at a hospital, get covered today VA for the benefit, versus go out of state, I’m being told they still – even though the bill passed – they still have to fight the VA.”

AYOTTE: “Right now unfortunately the bill still has to go through, having passed the rule making process, which I’m going to monitor very closely to make sure that it comes through with the intent of what it was meant, which is to give our vets a private care option. But [at] this moment, they don’t have that option because the actual implementation hasn’t been put in place yet.” (New Hampshire Radio Today with Jack Heath, WGIR, 10/21/2014)

Click Here to Listen to the Audio 

VA HEALTH REFORMS HAVE NOT BEEN IMPLEMENTED YET

Sen. Shaheen Is Either Deliberately Misleading or Willfully Ignorant: “The provision the two Senators fought to include in the bill will mean elderly, ill New Hampshire veterans will not have to travel hours to get medical care treatment at VA hospitals in Boston or White River Junction, VT. Once it becomes effective, expected in 90 to 120 days after the rule-making process, a veteran anywhere in the country will be able to receive care at private or public facilities if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or if the VA cannot provide the requested appointment within VA wait-time goals.” (“NH veterans soon can access medical care at private, non-VA providers,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 8/1/2014) 

FLASHBACK: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF HOW SEN. SHAHEEN WAS DRAGGED TO THE TABLE ON VA REFORM 

Senator Shaheen – Setting the Record Straight

Foster’s Daily Democrat OpEd by Matthew Spencer, former mayor of Somersworth, 10/29/14 

Will Jeanne Shaheen Fight for VA Reform?– CVA’s original NH ad, 10/27/14

CVA Is Still Waiting On Long-Overdue Answers to Three Basic Questions

  1. Why, when a coalition from CVA came to your office knocking on your door in April – before the VA scandal broke – asking for your support for VA reforms, did you refuse to meet with us or co-sponsor the bill?

  2. After the scandal, CVA ran ads in New Hampshire calling you out for your lack of support, and within 24 hours, you were calling our office begging to sign on to the VA Management Accountability Act. How can you honestly take any credit whatsoever for VA reform when you only became interested out of political expedience?
  3. If you truly cared about VA reform, why were no efforts made to address mismanagement, patient backlogs, and delays at VA medical facilities prior to the scandal?

Last week, CVA launched a new digital ad campaign in New Hampshire addressing Sen. Shaheen’s false claims. CEO Pete Hegseth also recorded a brief video explaining in detail why we feel that Shaheen should not be able to get away with her distortions.

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For media inquiries or interview requests, contact Bill Turenne at 703.638.3927 or email bturenne@cv4a.org. 

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.