Last month, we learned that basically no one has been fired from the Department of Veterans Affairs over the course of the past year. As a result, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took to the podium on Wednesday to vent his frustrations, and castigate a bloated federal agency for their continued fecklessness and failures.
“Next week marks the one-year anniversary since General Eric Shinseki resigned as the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department,” he said. “But instead of a new day at the VA, the American people are still seeing more of the same. Last year, Congress gave the VA secretary new authority to fire employees. But while some 110 VA facilities kept secret lists to hide their wait times, just one person has been fired.”
“What the hell happened to the rest of them?” he asked rhetorically.
Astonishingly, however, he answered his own question, noting that almost every one of them got off scot-free—and to this day continue to collect paychecks from the federal government’s coffers.
“If only the Veterans Administration did half as good a job taking care of the bureaucrats as they do our veterans, we’d be in a lot better shape,” he said. “In fact, Congress also gave the VA more than $16 billion to improve care and to shorten waiting times. And yet, the number of patients facing long waits is about the same.”
“The number of patients waiting more than 90 days has doubled [too],” he added. “And at this point, the VA can’t even build a hospital. Just about every project ends up years behind schedule, and hundreds of millions, if not billions, over cost.”
To add insult to injury, Boehner explained, the VA also continues to misappropriate funds and waste taxpayer dollars on fruitless expenditures.
“Just last week the public learned the VA is spending $6 billion a year illegally,” he said. “An internal report exposed examples of overspending on conferences and improper gifts, inappropriate purchases and promotional items. Again, if only VA bureaucrats did as good a job of taking care of our veterans as they do themselves.”
Finally, Boehner reminded his colleagues that with Memorial Day right around the corner, the president should re-focus his attention on the health and well-being of America’s veterans.
“The president owes the American people a real, long-term plan to fix the VA,” he concluded. “Not a promise, not a pledge, not rearranging the chairs on a deck—a real plan to clean up this mess.”