With the Memorial Day holiday around the corner and area veterans health situations in the balance, U. S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is among senators seeking an independent investigation of problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs from a respected Senate subcommittee. Grassley also co-sponsored legislation that would make it easier to fire senior employees at the veterans agency over poor performance. This is in addition to his effort to make sure the agency’s independent watchdog conducts a national investigation, ideally including any problems in Iowa, and his work to try to limit paid leave for employees under investigation in the veterans scandal.
“The alleged problems are as serious as they can be,” Grassley said. “Getting to the bottom of what’s really going on for our veterans requires all hands on deck. It requires finding out what happened and fixing every condition that led to poor treatment of veterans, including firing anyone found responsible for malfeasance.”
Grassley signed a letter from Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), sent by 25 senators, to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, calling for an immediate, independent investigation of mismanagement, incompetence and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The letter, sent to Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Subcommittee Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.), urges swift action from the subcommittee, which is “tasked with studying and investigating the compliance or noncompliance with rules, regulations and laws, investigating all aspects of crime and lawlessness within the United States which have an impact upon or affect the national health, welfare and safety.” The committee is generally respected for conducting thorough investigations.
This week, Grassley co-sponsored legislation from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to make it easier for the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire senior employees for performance problems.
Along similar lines, Grassley wrote to the Veterans Affairs secretary this week, seeking details of department leave policy to ensure that employees put on leave over the scandal are not allowed long periods of paid leave, or, in effect, “paid vacations.”
Mowrer Wants Answers
On another front, Iraq War Veteran, former Senior Pentagon Official and congressional candidate Jim Mowrer called for the resignation of General Shinseki.
“In April it was disclosed that 40 Veterans in Arizona died because they had been put on a secret waiting list by the VA and never received the care that they earned by serving our Nation.” Mowrer said. “This horrific incident was not only a failure of leadership at every level, but it speaks to the fact that the entire VA system is a rudderless ship approaching disaster. We must not allow this to continue. People must be held accountable.”
Mowrer acknowledged that General Shinseki had served his country honorably but that it was time for him to go.
“General Shinseki is an American hero. He has put his life on the line and sacrificed more than most for his country but he has been the head of the VA for five years and these problems persist. The fact that he cares for veterans is beyond doubt. It is because he cares that he needs to step down.” Mowrer said.
Latham and Loebsack Want Answers Now
Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Tom Latham announced they have met with the leaders of the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, including the Medical Center Director prior to the tour of the facilities. Latham has expressed concerns over how the VA hospitals handle appointments and treatment of veterans:
During the meeting and tour, Loebsack and Latham discussed the process the VA Central Iowa Health Care System uses for scheduling appointments, the average wait time for new patients, new construction and upgrades at the facility as well as gather information about how they and the Iowa Congressional Delegation can best assist veterans and the VA to help them effectively serve our nation’s heroes. Loebsack has a special interest because his stepson and wife are both in the Marines Corps:
Both Congressmen will take back to Washington, what they learned on the tour.