Each week, the GOP provides a set of remarks in response to (or at least in parallel with) the President’s Saturday commentary. They rotate though different speakers from week to week, and long time friend of Hot Air, Andrew Malcolm provides the transcripts at Investor’s Business Daily. This week’s speaker was Senator Richard Burr (R – NC) and he touched on an important topic… the care of returning wounded veterans and their families.
Thankfully, over the past five years, Congress has authorized over $600 billion to VA in robust and sustained increases of government funding for veterans’ programs designed to be part of a more responsive federal support for veterans outreach and care.
This unprecedented level of support has been especially evident in the area of veterans’ benefits, specifically disability payments. The surge in financial support has not been matched with an equivalent surge in responsiveness from the Veterans’ Administration.
The subject of the horrendous backlog in processing veterans’ claims was a damning one for the Obama administration, but as Senator Burr pointed out, it’s finally starting to get better. That’s the point where he thanked a rather unexpected actor in this story.
The now infamous backlog of claims reached a point of national embarrassment last year when a series of biting monologues from comedian Jon Stewart finally elevated the problem to the President’s desk and spurred his VA Secretary into action. It was only then we began seeing some signs of incremental progress.
When it takes a comedian to garner a response from our government, we are in bad shape. While the backlog has begun to decline, we still have nearly 700,000 veterans and their families waiting for answers.
That was fairly generous of Burr, particularly given the treatment which the GOP and conservatism in general usually receive from Stewart. (He has some moments where he takes down liberals and Democrats as well, but that tends to just be some filler material to say, look how fair and balanced I am!) But I saw this series of bits that he did – not going to dig up the clips here today – and he deserves the nod. He interviewed a number of veterans on a panel discussion where they talked about the issues they encountered and sent his “reporters” to DC to talk to the workers trying to process all of the paper forms in an antiquated system.
It apparently lit a fire under a few backsides at the VA and the processing cycle seems to have sped up a bit. (Though still not enough.) Read the Senator’s remarks in full and look into this VA issue. Our veterans deserve better, and it’s good that the GOP is using their microphone to keep attention on the subject. And, yes… my thanks go out to Jon Stewart also.