House Passes Four Gosar Amendments Targeted at Providing Better Services, Accountability at VA

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Washington, DC, April 29, 2015 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after successfully passing four amendments on the House floor, thereby attaching them to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016:
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Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after successfully passing four amendments on the House floor, thereby attaching them to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016:

“While much attention has been given over the last year to the widespread corruption uncovered at the VA, especially the Phoenix VA hospital which was ground zero for this malfeasance, there has not been nearly enough progress to fix the glaring failures in the department. As a result, many of our veterans are simply giving up. They are either giving up on trying to obtain the benefits they deserve, or worse, some of them are giving up on life altogether. It is a travesty, and this appalling trend must be reversed. Congress can do more for our veterans and should focus on prioritizing funding for efforts that will lead to timelier care for our nation’s heroes as opposed to administrative expenses.”

The full text of Congressman Gosar’s amendments can be found by clicking the links below:

Amendment prohibiting loopholes hiding unacceptable delays for veterans:
“Current law allows some veterans facing waits of more than 30 days for a doctor appointment to obtain private care.  However, VA officials recently sent an internal memo known as Fast Letter 13-10 instructing claims representatives to alter the date of the claim from the date it was filed to the date it was processed.  As a result, backlogs appear to be reduced and veterans are unable to utilize the private care benefit. This manipulation and fraud was widespread at the Phoenix VA until a couple honorable whistleblowers came forth. This amendment will prohibit the practice of altering or falsifying veteran wait time data.”

Amendment transferring funds from General Administration to VA IT Systems:
“Updates and upgrades to IT systems at the VA are paramount to meeting the goals of veteran claims backlog reduction. This amendment will redirect a fraction of the funds in the General Administration account away from things like funding for conference expenses and bureaucrats, and shifting these funds towards reducing the VA claims backlog.”

Amendment transferring funds from VA Office of General Counsel to improve efforts reducing claims backlog:
“This amendment will transfer $8 million that the VA planned to use to hire new government attorneys to hire and train personnel for the purposes of reducing veterans’ disability claims backlog. For the last five years the President’s budget request for additional lawyers at the VA has been fully funded and yet the claims backlog still remains at unacceptable lengths. I think most Americans would agree that appropriations would be better spent on VA claims backlog reduction rather than hiring more lawyers.”

Amendment transferring funds in order to provide additional resources to the Board of Veterans Appeals:
“One of the primary concerns that I hear from my casework staff—and directly from veterans—is the need for increased resources to the Board of Veterans Appeals. It is no surprise that with our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, appeals received by the Board have increased by 65% in the last four years. I simply want to heed the call of the veterans in my district and ensure the Board of Appeals has the resources necessary to address the seemingly endless backlog.”

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