Congressman Garamendi on Recent News at the VA
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Obama accepted the resignation of Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki:
“We must make sure that General Shinseki’s departure serves as an opportunity to aggressively address the many challenges the Veterans Administration faces. We have the moral duty to care for our aging veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and other conflicts and for the two million new veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. There is no time for delay. As a Member of Congress, I will do all that I can to assist the new leadership at the VA, so that every veteran has access to the services that they deserve in a timely and satisfactory manner.
“My office has worked tirelessly to help veterans in the 3rd District. This year alone, we’ve worked on 500 VA constituent cases secured more than $2.5 million in back payments from the VA. However, the fact that we have so many active cases in our office demonstrates the systematic failures throughout the VA system.
“No one person is responsible for the totality of errors that has led to this point. It’s up to every lawmaker in Washington to put politics aside and work together to solve this dilemma. I have cosponsored a dozen bills toward this end. Swift passage of these bills and comprehensive reform of veterans’ services, such as Senator Sanders’s legislation, would be a great start. The Senator’s bill has support from every major veterans’ organization and would help us deliver the top-flight services that veterans have earned on the battlefield.”
Congressman Garamedi joined more than 60 of his colleagues in endorsing a letter authored by Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), which called for a more comprehensive audit of the VA system.
"A thorough and comprehensive audit is necessary so the VA is able to accurately assess the real state of patient wait times, manage patient care and address access problems before these problems put more veterans at risk," the Members wrote.