My father recently died in a VA hospice in New York. His care with the VA was punctuated by the dedicated and competent care of staff, nurses, physicians and everyone with whom our family interacted — in New York, Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We remain forever grateful to them.
Our VA system has been overwhelmed by nearly 1 million new veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Massive and complex challenges remain an on-going legacy — from backlogged claims and failing infrastructure to the human tragedy of delayed care.
In February, Republicans ended debate on a VA funding bill to provide new facilities, staff and services for our veterans and their families and also to address the current backlog of cases. Claiming the bill, written by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, was too expensive, Republicans demanded additional cuts, together with an unrelated proposed amendment to impose new sanctions on Iran. The bill failed to achieve the new-normal of 60 votes. There goes democracy.
Choosing a duplicitous reliance upon the blame game, Republicans have serially eschewed responsibility to contribute creative solutions to any of the challenges facing our country, including those our veterans now endure.
And this week, team red strutted themselves to podiums, finding yet another media-friendly scandal-rock under which to hide years of their own active inattention to informed governance.