Video Highlights: VA Totally Dropped the Ball

131009 Hearing Miller

VA used 17-year-old wind-down plan as basis for shutdown procedure. According to Shinseki, He literally said he had to dust it off. This same manual, if you think about it, was pre 9/11, pre Afghanistan War, pre Iraq War II, and pre Backlog. Think they should have updated it?

But that’s what VA used for guidance on how to shut VA down. Total time spent on shutdown in September was 72 hours. The remainder of the time VA spent millions on decor and advertising. That’s the backdrop to these highlights from the hearing.

I also include my favorite clip from both the Republicans and the Democrats. Video is a little rough at spots but good enough to understand what was said.


Rep. Jeff Miller questions VA about its Lack of Preparedness

Shinseki to Congress: “I just did not think [the shutdown] would be allowed to happen.”

He continued, “I have plans and we have quickly dusted them off and within 72 hours have gone into emergency procedures… So Mr. Chairman, if you knew the shutdown was going ton happen, it was not shared with me. I just did not think you would allow this to happen.”


Rep. Jeff Miller hammers VA about Misspending prior to Shutdown

Chairman Jeff Miller: “How did we end up with the $500,000 of art in Kansas… Why are we spending over $1 million in DC area on ads… It’s a question of prioritization. Because we’re talking about people not getting the benefits they have earned, not being buried in a timely fashion. Yet, we can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in things the American people would find inconsequential.”


Rep. Bill Flores questions whether or not White House influenced VA Shutdown

Rep. Bill Flores: “There was a field guide that was issued by VA on September 27 that said disability claims processing would not be affected. Then on September 28 VA notified the Committee that they would not be able to send the November benefits checks because funding would run out in late October.

“Then on September 30, President Obama in an interview said that veterans will find their support centers unstaffed. This is in direct contradiction to the Field Guide that said vet centers would not be affected. During that same interview, the President intimated the shutdown would affect somebody in a VA office who is counseling someone with PTSD.

“On September 30, VA updated the field guide… This goes back to my question.

“Did someone at the White House or Office of Management and Budget or Treasury or any other federal agency or federal employee ask you or anyone else to modify the timetable with which VA was going to begin its operational wind down?”


Rep. Corrine Brown hammers the House over Partisanship

Rep. Corrine Brown: “I don’t blame the Senate. I thank God for the Senate… the bad politics of this House. Let’s don’t confuse no one with facts.”


Rep. Jeff Miller points out Senate Proposal Mirroring H.J. Rep. 72 

Chairman Miller highlights how Res 72 for funding VA is same as proposal from Senator Burnie Sanders. That bill was supported by Senator Jon Tester, Senator Mark Begich, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Mazie Herono.

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  1. This was posted in 2013, 2016 noting has been done ! Money talks, BS walks ! Our leaders Moto !

    What can you do for me ! Not what I can do for you, Unless you got Cash !

    HU ! BOB

  2. Shinseki is a tramp? I think the morons who posted the nonsense about an all white video survey conducted at UC are even more full of shit. And the other posting about “understanding” the “Flea Party”, the poster should have suggested his/her reader be obsequious as a rational method for understanding the “Flea Party”. A couple of questions which weren’t asked were 1) Did the “art” which cost 500K come from veterans or veterans who “make” art — if so money well spent; 2) was the decorum which cost big bucks come from a veteran owned company which employed other veterans? Sorry no head patting for the Flea Party, why any vet would advertise the most sickening remnants of corporate nationalism [Republicans and Democrats] rather than asking Nader or some alethic candidates to represent America, is beyond me.

  3. Had medical crap going on today and just getting to my in box. I have equal disdain for *any politician or side of any aisle* in the equal unacceptable use of The Fall Hero’s Families, Veteran’s Pension and Disability, and Survivor Benefits as pawns in their game on The Hill and the paper trail and voting records, to include irresponsible statements made on floor of House by each and every one of these Tea Party folks, when election time comes around–but understand this includes whatever stripe the politician is wearing because these are truly not Reagan Era type Republicans, nor are the Democrat’s hands free of self-interest feces.
    I think it’s high time that those in charge of the VA and the VA itself are held under MUCH higher standards to include being required to swear under oath before Congress and be held responsible and culpable for perjury. That also means when the air has cleared from this manufactured mess we are in, there needs to be a full scale investigation to include money spent on the huge fail of electronic records software and find out just whom these “political pals were” that misspent ALL THAT funding when still under threat of what’s happening right now. I say the latter because with our Congress failing to make a budget for 3+ years and continuing to recklessly spend, and further insult to injury, civilian contractors, whom a good lot of them are nothing but War Profiteers, are in-fact continuing to be paid by DOD. My brother has worked for a huge company post his Army Ranger’s career that was usurped by Halliburton in President George W.Bush’s last term in office.
    When they chose to fund the Active Duty Military they should have entirely included the VA’s Compensation side for Veterans since it only makes sense to fund that which supports us after our service or as was grossly illuminated in news today–failing to support Fallen Hero’s especially while we have wars on-going. I am pretty ashamed of ALL our so-called leaders whom should be locked into both Houses, doors nail gun shut and make them work through and through weekend and only let out when fixing this mess.

    1. What do you know about the Tea Party folk? Have you ever met one of these folk who identifies with the Tea Party? Have you ever been to one of their pro-veteran patriotic rallies? Are any Tea Party members veterans?

      Do you understand that the Tea Party is a populist movement that is the natural answer to status quo establishment Democrats and Republicans that use and abuse veterans and the middle-class in America?

      I almost think that your angst is directed at RINOS, those politicians that use deception to plunder the tax boxes that contain the remnants of our limited paychecks.

      Since the Tea Party was born out of the anger against Obamacare, and as the general public wakes up to the horrors that Obamacare is visiting on innocent families in America, does it not surprise you that Obama’s approval has sunk to a miserable 37% and does it not surprise you that people are pushing back against the individual mandate that is bankrupting them?

      Methinks that your anger is misplaced.

      I would go so far to venture that you and I have more in common than not.

      If you do not think so, then what exactly are your expectations of your support for Obama?

      More importantly, what do YOU GAIN…

      …at the expense of me, and other veterans who do not agree with Obama, Reid, and RINOS?

      Just wondering.

      1. Perhaps you should look at Michelle Bachmann’s Tea Party record of fact that ben even had posted on here for a while where she, along with others “thought we Veterans had it *too good on Disability* and she, along with others sought to have our benefits *reduced*…”…how’s that, for one example?

        Yes, I actually have an Uncle whom is an ex-Marine from Vietnam War that has been a Tea Party member and I am open-minded enough to actually attend a meeting with several to hear them out at a meeting in Southern Indiana. When I hear *any* anti-Constitutional lambasting and BLATANT Racism such as was more than just a nuance amongst all attending (aside from myself), that have angst about a President whom they simply “so not think he should be there because he’s “not one of us”, then signage with our President (regardless of Party) made-up to look like Hitler——-YES, I have a HUGE problem with the dangerous, misinformed, kool aid drinking types that are actually the root of holding our Gov’t hostage.
        You are certainly entitled to your view, as am I. BUT, please do not try to make THIS your platform for spreading non-critical thinking ideologies that makes one really wonder if you know how to use critical thinking in first place.
        By the way, my uncle was the only Veteran an actual member of that group of approx. 76 people aside from my presence as an observer to ask questions and indeed use critical thinking. That meeting left a taste in mouth and brain and heart as if I had just licked a pig’s behind!
        I am in fact an Independent Voter and have been for years before it even had a name!
        Your projecting and lambasting is a very quick way to turn people off to an otherwise great resource Ben has here…seriously!

      2. Namnibor,

        You’re being deceptive. Tea Party rallies are absolutely not like you described. It is now quite obvious that you are a Democratic operative trolling veteran sites to propagandize Obama’s anti-veteran agenda.

        Also, the only person dropping the ‘-ism’ word is YOU, which by default marginalizes your self to non-relevancy when it comes to debating with other people who disagree with your viewpoint.

        This last week I have laid out facts consistent with the reality of the situation that we, as veterans, find ourselves so that any reasonable viewer can discern the truth of what is happening behind the government shutdown, and that it is Obama, Reid, and the RINOS that are using veterans as political hostages to augment their attempt to render the middle-class in America powerless.

        In fact, you have deliberately refused to defend Obama’s executive actions that have hurt WWII, Vietnam, and OIF / OEF / OND veterans.

        Why do you not defend your political party (Democrat, I presume)?

        Is it because you cannot?

        As for projecting your belief that ONLY YOUR VIEWPOINT should be heard on Ben’s website, well, that speaks volumes of your motivation to silence dissent in the ranks.

        More than half this nation is conservative-leaning, and no matter how hard Obama, Reid, and RINOS try to abuse them, the conservatives are going to push back come election time and boot out those that would unashamedly exploit the plight of financially-strapped veterans.

        As for me, I use Ben’s website to learn from him about veterans issues, to discuss with rationally-minded veterans about these very same issues that he is researching for us, and to advocate for the financial security of veterans, like myself, you, Ben, and others.

  4. If you are a student veteran, you probably already do not trust the media spin about who is responsible for the government shutdown.

    All I see in the media is a concerted effort to blame conservatives.

    They will not even ask Obama the tough questions about the reason for the government shutdown, which is his obstinate refusal to stop Obamacare from hurting the middle-class in America, while his big business buddies and him get exemptions from its hurtful effects.

    But the media spinning for Obama do not reflect the attitudes of everyday Americans.

    Take the University of Colorado, for instance. This campus, like most ones across America, tends to be liberal and progressive in nature.

    So it was to my great surprise to listen to UC students directly blame Obama for the government shutdown.

    Why is this important?

    Because if this government shutdown drags on month after month, it will be imperative that student veterans mobilize as a grassroots effort to address financial hardship with their college president and board of trustees.

    Apart from emails, student veterans can request that their college and local news media get involved to highlight the financial struggles facing veterans on campus.

    Knowing that a majority of CU students blame Obama for the government shutdown, then they would in all likelihood throw their support behind veterans by demanding that Obama stop holding veteran benefits hostage to his failed unaffordable Obamacare program that even financially threatens non-veteran students, their families, neighbors, and friends.

    The more support we get behind student veterans, the faster we veterans can get our benefits back.

    The makers of the video is a group called Campus Reform.

    Campus Reform’s Mission Statement: “Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute, is America’s leading site for college news.

    As a watchdog to the nation’s higher education system, Campus Reform exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.

    Our team of professional journalists works alongside student activists and student journalists to report on the conduct and misconduct of university administrators, faculty, and students.

    Campus Reform holds itself to rigorous journalism standards and strives to present each story with accuracy, objectivity, and public accountability.”

    Here is the shock video of CU students choosing who is to blame for the government shutdown – the President of the United States, Obama:

  5. Ben, didn’t Shinseki state that the VA had reached out to all 6000 colleges that veteran students attend for financial help?

    I do not believe Shinseki. It does not fit into Obama’s, Reid, and the RINO’s master-plan to hurt veterans for political gain.

    Out of 6000 colleges, only the University of Wyoming is willing to help their student veterans during this government shutdown.

    My own college has not been contacted by the VA, and they do not have the means to provide me financial help during this government shutdown.

    Figures, huh?

    UW Press release:

    “The University of Wyoming will work to help military veterans attending UW continue their studies, regardless of what happens with federally funded programs affected by the government shutdown, UW President Bob Sternberg says.

    The president has issued a directive that no veterans will be forced to leave UW or to have their studies curtailed because of inability to pay expenses to the university, including tuition and residence hall costs, due to the shutdown. And the university will take steps to assist veterans who have relied upon monthly stipends under the GI Bill to cover off-campus rent and other living expenses.

    “We will do our best to find a way to tide them over, the details as yet to be determined,” Sternberg says. “Our objective is to make sure all veterans will be able to continue their studies uninterrupted, regardless of what happens with the federal shutdown.”

    More than 400 veterans are students at UW, and the university’s Office of Student Financial Aid and the Veterans Services Center help connect them with a variety of federally funded programs to support their education. Both offices will continue to keep the students updated on developments regarding the shutdown’s effect on their benefits.

    The university expects to review each veteran’s needs, and a customized variety of resources will be employed to help address each student’s immediate financial needs.”

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