Boehner accuses White House of sabotaging Veterans Affairs bill

posted at 4:41 pm on July 24, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Early Thursday morning, it appeared that a compromise proposal which would address the scandal surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs and improve vets’ access to medical services was likely to be passed by Congress.

The cost of the means to address the crisis at the VA had been a stumbling block for weeks. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee’s Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Thursday that his new proposal to improve access to health care for military veterans would cost less than $25 billion over 10 years — $10 billion less than a bill passed by the Senate in June.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the White House’s request to address the VA scandal started at $17.5 billion before it even addressed the issue of providing vets with expedited access to care:

The Obama administration says it needs about $17.6 billion to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, lease new facilities and upgrade its computers to reduce a backlog of veterans awaiting care at VA hospitals and clinics. The administration’s request does not include money to make it easier for veterans to get health care from private doctors, the biggest cost in Congress’s bills.

But the compromise appears heading for collapse. Politico reported on Thursday that congressional Democrats were livid when House Republicans called a snap conference meeting for noon. “They said that decision was made unilaterally by House Veterans Affairs’ Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) to offer a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ proposal with just days left before a five-week congressional recess,” the Politico report asserted.

The standoff is notable because Miller and Senate Veterans’ Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) agree on the basic outline of a reform bill: Expand private health care access to veterans that live near overburdened facilities and crack down on bad actors within the department. But both parties are haggling over how to pay for it — one of the most difficult tasks for Congress on any legislation given the lack of appetite for new taxes or spending cuts so close to the midterm elections.

In that committee hearing, Miller tore into acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson for requesting funding he said was aimed only at preserving the VA’s “perverse culture” rather than addressing the issue of access to care.

“Throwing billions into a system that has never been denied a dime will not automatically fix the perverse culture,” the chairman said. Miller asserted that the VA “can no longer consider itself a sacred cow.”

“Veterans are sacred. The VA is not,” he added.

A compromise bill aimed at addressing the VA crisis now appears set to fail with just days remaining before Congress adjourns for the August recess. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has laid the blame for a presumed failure of a VA bill at the feet of the president.

“Senate Democrats refused to even show up and discuss bipartisan solutions, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors. That is shameful,” the Speaker said. “If President Obama cares about America’s veterans, he needs to pick up his phone out in California and tell Senate Democrats to get to work.”

If the White House thinks they can leverage the inaction of Congress on the VA scandal ahead of the midterms, presuming cynically but perhaps correctly that the public will not have followed the parliamentary machinations that led a compromise bill to fail, they should think again.

According to a recent Fox News poll, 57 percent of respondents believe the administration cannot competently provide care to military vets via the VA. It is unlikely that the public will blame Congress for the scandal involving the failure of the executive to manage a branch of the federal government.


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What we couldn’t find more money for Veterans affairs Boehner? I am sure if they had said it was for Israel, the money would have mysteriously materialized.

I am sad the deal felt through but right now I don’t want any congressman telling me we don’t have money. We seem to have sh!t load of it somewhere, but the vault can only open if it is going to foreign countries.

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

And Boehner will cry crocodile tears while passing/not passing whatever the White House wants. Since we all know that Boehner does not have the wherewithal to actually do anything.

Seen this before. All that is missing is orange spray tan.

NWConservative on July 24, 2014 at 4:48 PM

So HOW much money does the WH want to allocate for bonuses to kill the vets ?

burrata on July 24, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Obama would rather fund healthcare for the Civilian Defense Corpse, his loyal 3AM commandos.

ConstantineXI on July 24, 2014 at 4:48 PM

It’s funny…the VA has puh-LENTY of $$$ to hire extra doctors as well as puh-LENTY of $$$ to *ahem!* upgrade their appointment system.

Good call on Jeff Miller to call this zero-proposed boondoggle for what is it.

Newtie and the Beauty on July 24, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Re-allocate the ‘aid’ we give to murderous Hamas under the guise of ‘Palestinians’.

otlset on July 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

It’s good to see Boehner for a change directing his fire at Obama or the Dems. Typically he goes after conservatives in his support of the Chamber of Commerce and Big Amnesty. And btw, Boehner went “ballistic” the other day against Obama, saying the border crisis was of Obama’s own making. True, but it’s equally of Boehner’s own making with the R House leadership’s continuous talk of amnesty. Insane. We need to get Boehner out of there. If you doubt that, then watch this video: it is despicable.

anotherJoe on July 24, 2014 at 4:53 PM

I see the moron is out early today.

RickB on July 24, 2014 at 4:53 PM

What we couldn’t find more money for Veterans affairs Boehner? I am sure if they had said it was for Israel, the money would have mysteriously materialized.
I am sad the deal felt through but right now I don’t want any congressman telling me we don’t have money. We seem to have sh!t load of it somewhere, but the vault can only open if it is going to foreign countries.
coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

This.

Now Pee Off.

Newtie and the Beauty on July 24, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Yes. Throw more money at a corrupt agency – that will fix everything.

Right. Got’cha.

Turtle317 on July 24, 2014 at 4:56 PM

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Trollin, trollin, trollin…

BKeyser on July 24, 2014 at 4:57 PM

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Looks like you once again did not read the article before commenting. What part of “no VA reform no extra money to feed a system that is not working” do you disagree with? Or did you just miss that part?

KW64 on July 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Well, Boehner and the GOPe would know a sabotage effort when they see one.

joekenha on July 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

They all can go to hell.

Replace them all.

TX-96 on July 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Looks like you once again did not read the article before commenting. What part of “no VA reform no extra money to feed a system that is not working” do you disagree with? Or did you just miss that part?
KW64 on July 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

No pictures or video…not that she watches any of the videos…

Newtie and the Beauty on July 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM

I am sad the deal felt through but right now I don’t want any congressman telling me we don’t have money. We seem to have sh!t load of it somewhere, but the vault can only open if it is going to foreign countries.

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Or Pie in the Sky solar companies…

Or Obama bundlers….

BigWyo on July 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Good for Boehner to stand against wasteful spending. He doesn’t do it much, so when he does it is appreciated.

Tater Salad on July 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

KW64 on July 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

He just wants Hamas to win.

Buck Farky on July 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Or ‘Shovel Ready’ jobs…

BigWyo on July 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Trollin, trollin, trollin…

BKeyser on July 24, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Keep those trolls a trollin’..Rawhide!!..:):)

Dire Straits on July 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Or ‘Cash for Clunkers’

BigWyo on July 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Good for Boehner to stand against wasteful spending. He doesn’t do it much, so when he does it is appreciated.

Tater Salad on July 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Agreed..Boehner is doing a good job here..:)

Dire Straits on July 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

If President Obama cares about America’s veterans…

Could have stopped right there. It’s patently obvious he does not, unless they are caddying for him or flipping his ‘burgs.

TarasBulbous on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Agreed..Boehner is doing a good job here..:)
Dire Straits on July 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

*smoooooch!*

Newtie and the Beauty on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Obama had to gall to ask for $3.7 Billion to provide for still more illegal aliens.

Add that to the hundreds of billion already wasted on IT for ObamaCare rollout and exchanges that don’t screen for fraud.

Add $ 47 million sent directly to Gaza to support Hamas.

Add that to $250 million sent to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for providing 82,000 illegal aliens currently in this nation being provided for at still more tax payer expense.

And that’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s been ‘allocated’ for the maintenance of non-Americans , or requested by this president, in the last few weeks.

The problems with the VA have nothing to do with funding. The VA has never been denied any request for additional funds. The problems in the VA have to do with people hired or appointed who are incompetent and/or criminal.

The VA is harboring a ‘perverse culture’ of bureaucrats and affirmative action hires who are either not qualified or inclined to perform the tasks assigned them, yet they are rewarded for those failures to perform adequately and the real cost for this pervasive and ‘perverse culture’, is veterans who are suffering and dying needlessly and their families left to mourn their loss and do without them.

thatsafactjack on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Look at me…I have the analytical ability of a 6th grader and I no nothing of economic science so let me comment foolishly and unrestrained.

Coolre..whatever

DWoDiego on July 24, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Whatever happened to paygo
The dems passed it…..its the law right?

cmsinaz on July 24, 2014 at 5:21 PM

We seem to have sh!t load of it somewhere, but the vault can only open if it is going to foreign countries.

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Birth control!!!!

ladyingray on July 24, 2014 at 5:22 PM

A little Joo hating, a touch of Joo baiting, a little revisionist history, blah, blah blah here I go again.

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Dolce Far Niente on July 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Fire everyone at VA and close the department completely. Open regional bids in each state (possibly even, county) for private indemnity insurance companies who would be interested. Pay the bids from the former VA funds and money freed from bureaucrats’ salaries. I’m sure that will be sufficient – but if not, I would be willing to pay extra tax if it covers VA care directly and does not commingle with the general funds (make doing so a federal felony).

Rix on July 24, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Newtie and the Beauty on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Good evening..:)

Dire Straits on July 24, 2014 at 5:28 PM

As is always the case, with this party and this President, they’d rather have the issue that a solution. It’s time for Boehner to start getting tough and place the blame where it belongs. The Democrats are going along with what Obama’s doing, hold them responsible.

bflat879 on July 24, 2014 at 5:29 PM

As of now if you are a veteran and need care at the VA,do yourself a favor,go out behind the hospital and shoot yourself.

docflash on July 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Could have stopped right there. It’s patently obvious he does not, unless they are caddying for him or flipping his ‘burgs.

TarasBulbous on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Or holding his umbrella.

climbnjump on July 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM

We don’t have a spending problem at the VA.

faraway on July 24, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Does anyone know how many Vets are in the system? I’m curious about the $/Vets amount is being requested.

LouisianaLightning on July 24, 2014 at 5:57 PM

More spending? More?!

Just give the Vets vouchers. Let them go wherever they want. Destroy the VA. Blow. It. Up.

This is out of all control.

MTF on July 24, 2014 at 6:11 PM

“Boehner accuses White House of sabotaging Veterans Affairs bill”

..and what will self-serving spineless, gutless Repub-o-cRAT weasel Boehner do about that?

HAVE ANOTHER GOOD CRY IN HIS OFFICE, as usual.

MicahStone on July 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM

The VA needs more money? How about the bureaucrats running it DON’T GET A BONUS FOR DOING THE JOB THEY WERE HIRED TO DO.

Use the “bonus” money for the vets!

GarandFan on July 24, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Get a good look folks – this is what Govt-sponsored health care is like.
Disgraceful that we treat our Veterans this way…just wait till it happens to the rest of us – kicked around like a political football.

And to all those dumb@sses (like Rogets Thesaurus) who are stupid enough to think the GOP-controlled House is responsible for supposedly doing nothing and “obstructing”, FEAST YOUR EYES UPON THIS!

Once again, THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SERVED – YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS!!

Pelosi Schmelosi on July 24, 2014 at 6:53 PM

obama hates babies in the womb, Jews and anything connected to the military.

crosshugger on July 24, 2014 at 7:15 PM

A study:

Compare and contrast Obama’s red lines with Boehner’s red lines.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on July 24, 2014 at 7:22 PM

The problems with the VA have nothing to do with funding. The VA has never been denied any request for additional funds. The problems in the VA have to do with people hired or appointed who are incompetent and/or criminal.

The VA is harboring a ‘perverse culture’ of bureaucrats and affirmative action hires who are either not qualified or inclined to perform the tasks assigned them, yet they are rewarded for those failures to perform adequately and the real cost for this pervasive and ‘perverse culture’, is veterans who are suffering and dying needlessly and their families left to mourn their loss and do without them.

thatsafactjack on July 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Well said, and it needs to be repeated that the entire problem at the VA has as the root cause the ineffective, incompetent, mendacious, and likely criminal management – hired or appointed. It’s not a lack of funds, it’s a lack of responsibility to properly do one’s job and a culture that encourages lying in order to score a performance bonus.

“Veterans are sacred. The VA is not,” he added.

Rep. Jeff Miller is exactly right. But, unfortunately to too many, they see it the bureaucracy and it’s current culture as sacred, the vets, well, not so much.

Oh, and assisting the Administration with this remains far too much of the biased and unethical mainstream media who aren’t adequately reporting about this shameful scandal.

Athos on July 24, 2014 at 8:04 PM

obama’s sabotaging America.

lel2007 on July 24, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Agreed..Boehner is doing a good job here..:)

Dire Straits on July 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Yeah good ol’ Boner ! Solid as a rock ! (for now)

How long until midterm elections ?

cableguy615 on July 24, 2014 at 9:03 PM

No more money for this abject failure of a VA administration. Give us vouchers to go to our nearest doctor and get timely treatment. Sell the trillions in VA assets and let the medical staff operate in the public sector.
A Vietnam Veteran

leader4hru on July 25, 2014 at 1:45 AM

coolrepublica on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

The VA doesn’t need more money. They need to take back 100 million in bonuses and fire all the managers that work at the agency.

Then they need to hire other veterans to work there. The VA has plenty of money, but all the management is corrupt and degenerate.

Time to clean house.

dogsoldier on July 25, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Dear leader could transfer some of the money from zerocare that he was going to hand out as subsidies or even some of the money from Medicare that he saved by implementing the death panels. The government has plenty of dough, they just need to look for it. Kinda like an Easter egg hunt.

Kissmygrits on July 25, 2014 at 8:28 AM

cableguy615 on July 24, 2014 at 9:03 PM

While I don’t always agree with Boehner..I will give him credit when he is right.. In this case he is right..imho..:)

Dire Straits on July 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

I see the moron is out early today.

RickB on July 24, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Yes, Droolrepublica has a major advantage in posting quickly because it does not read the article. It just posts its prepared talking point on the subject regardless of what the writer has to say; thus making its comments even more useless and uninformed.

KW64 on July 30, 2014 at 10:23 AM