UPDATE: Veterans Affairs Scandal

August 26, 2014: USA Today reported that the joint DOJ-FBI-Veterans Affairs task force has issued a report on its investigation of 93 VA health care sites across the country.

Investigators found thousands of instances of deliberate VA fraud that directly impinged on care for veterans. Not mistakes. Fraud … including falsifying records to hide delays in care and deliberate attempts to obstruct investigators.

August 26, 2014? Can we just say … it’s about damn time and what the hell took so long?!?!?!

It’s not like there weren’t people EAGER to step forward! When the news media finally broke the story, the Inspector General’s office was flooded with allegations by whistle-blowers at VA hospitals and clinics across the country! And the very people who were most responsible for finding and fixing problems like this were AWARE that there were problems as far back as 2007.

Okay. Before you buy into Obama’s usual “Booosh did it!”, let’s look at HOW MUCH responsibility Barack Obama has SHIRKED on this issue.

Bush’s second term covered the 109th (2005-2006) and 110th (2007-2008) sessions of Congress. During both sessions, Senator Barack OBAMA was a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, a group that is DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for monitoring the quality of care our veterans are or are not getting at VA facilities.

However, it would be a mistake to say he “served” on the committee, since even the liberal blog Daily Kos noted that Senator Barack Obama MISSED MORE THAN HALF of the meetings!

Sadly … or perhaps I should say typically … his lack of attention to his own responsibility to monitor veteran health care did not stop him from blaming the Bush Administration for “deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals.”

Are we clear on this? Senator Barack Obama KNEW in NOVEMBER 2007 that some of the VA hospitals had serious problems AND he was PART of the oversight committee charged with INVESTIGATING and FINDING LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS to said problems.

Before I continue, I need to recap another bit of historical truth about Bush’s second term, which is that while Republicans held the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives during the 109th Congress, Democrats held the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives during the 110th Congress.

Our federal government cannot pass a single law unless the Senate and the House vote it through and the President signs it. That means whichever party holds the majority of TWO (or three) of these three entities HAS MAJORITY CONTROL OVER POLICY and legislation.

In other words, it would be entirely fair to blame Republicans for VA problems PRIOR to January 2007, since they had held the majority in DC continuously from January 1995 to December 2006.

But DEMOCRATS took over in January 2007 and among those Democrats was one Senator Barack Obama on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee who claimed to be well aware of problems in VA hospitals.

So what exactly did Senator Obama DO to try and address the problems he claimed he saw so clearly in November of 2007?

Not much.

In the November 2007 Obama campaign press release in which Senator Obama blamed President Bush for “deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals,” it says:

“As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Senator Obama has successfully reached out to Republicans and Democrats to pass laws to improve care for troops recovering from injuries, combat homelessness among veterans, and make the disability benefits process more equitable.”

I was curious how true that statement might be and actually looked up every piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Barack Obama on behalf of veterans. As it turns out, Senator Obama did what he’s so often done – i.e., he mangled the truth to make himself look good.

As you look at these lists, pay particular attention to the facts behind his claim to have “successfully reached out to Republicans to pass laws.”

  1. Obama’s “outreach” to Republicans was limited to just three centrists.
  2. None of his seven bills ever even made it out of committee, a step that is still very far removed from a bill becoming a law.

Veterans' Bills by Obama - 109th

Surprisingly, none of the Republicans Obama got to co-sponsor included the pro-military, but very centrist Senator John McCain.

One has to wonder … if the bills were actually any good, wouldn’t McCain have signed on, particularly to S.713 (2007) which was referred to the Armed Services Committee where Senator McCain was a ranking member? And if that particular bill had had any merit whatsoever, how did it manage to DIE in a Democrat-majority committee without even one day of hearings when it had had 32 Democrat sponsors?

Veterans' Bills by Obama - 110th

Also in that November 2007 campaign press release, Obama said, “America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.”

I totally agree. So let’s take a look at how well Barack Obama kept his alleged resolve after he became the President of the United States and the Commander in Chief of the American Armed forces in January 2009.

One: President Obama’s election gave the Democrat majority a trifecta for the two years of the 111th Congress (2009-2010).

In fact, the Democrats had large majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, so essentially during those two years, Democrats could virtually write and pass any law they wanted.

Two: President Obama’s own nominee, Eric Shinseki, took over control of the Veterans Administration in January 2009.

If ever there was a prime time to FIX those “deplorable conditions”, 2009-2010 was it. 

Three: In January 2011, Republicans won back the House of Representatives, but Democrats still controlled the Senate and the White House.

Democrats have had majority control over policy and legislation continuously since January 2007.

When the VA scandal broke in May 2014, DEMOCRATS had held the MAJORITY for more than SEVEN years, with OBAMA in the White House and his hand picked leader running the VA for more than FOUR years.

So let’s just put to rest any lingering “Booosh did it” and “Obama cares” baloney, mkay?

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