What was left of any positive sentiment toward VA on Capitol Hill is quickly drying up. Sadly, it looks like VA Syndrome of inaction and impotence has now infected all of D.C.
In recent reports, Congress appears to be recycling old party tricks to trump up voter support rather than really fixing any problems.
Politico reported yesterday that legislators across the aisle have had about enough of VA’s countless excuses for spending abuses and general mismanagement.
Even longtime supporter Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke out last week about VA’s new stonewalling tactic.
“Our job is to legislate,” Sanders said, “and we’re going to go forward with or without the cooperation of the VA and the administration.”
Senate Democrats are even starting to waiver in their support for the current VA administration. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) commented,
“The backlog is declining, but unfortunately we are nowhere near where we should be yet, and we have to remain vigorous and vigilant in ensuring that the backlog continues to decrease to zero, even before the projected date.” He continued, “No veteran should have to wait months and months or even years to receive a decision from the VA.”
Frustrated by continued delays and lack of cooperation on the Hill, some lawmakers are, well, taking the law into their own hands.
Unfortunately, the ideas and strategies taken by the House appear to be little more than old news.
Last week, the House passed a bill last week to form a task force. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has been pushing for yet another task force for some time. Meanwhile, every veteran advocate in D.C. worth their salt knows that another task force will have little effect.
It would be useful if VA had effectively implemented any of the recommendations from the last task forces, but there is little evidence that these really help. Instead, they lend themselves to grandstanding and political diatribes during election season.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs issued still another scathing report on VA misspending at conferences in 2011. The House ran that issue up the flagpole over a year ago, in September 2012.
With the speed at which the House is able to even audit VA and issue “scathing” report, it is no wonder nothing gets done in Washington.
When one stops to think about the staffer hours that went into just that subcommittee report, with that issue’s countless hearings, American taxpayers probably spent as much money to hold VA accountable as was wasted by VA at the conferences.
This news likely surprises no one. We have seen it all before.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
With that logic, I think we can commit ever-single Congressmen to an asylum with little pushback. Or worse, maybe Congress knows the strategies don’t work, but they are hoping we will not notice.