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Jul 24 2014

Opening Remarks From VA Hearing That Bruce Braley Missed Centered On Long Wait Times

DES MOINES – With Bruce Braley claiming that he missed the Veterans’ Affairs performance and accountability hearing for another hearing where he was never seen sitting in his chair or uttering a single word, today the Republican Party of Iowa is telling him what he missed from this VA hearing.

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller began the hearing by expressing his concern for delays experienced by veterans seeking mental health care.  Miller proceeded to state that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over 125 days to receive care from the VA.

“If Bruce Braley made time for his VA hearings, like he’s able to do for his fancy D.C. fundraisers, he would’ve heard firsthand that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over 4 months to receive care from the VA,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “Braley’s priorities in Washington are quite simple: he’s more interested in himself than helping our veterans.”

BACKGROUND …

Braley Skipped His VA Hearing But Made Time For Three Fundraisers

Bruce Braley Skipped A VA Hearing He Attended Three Fundraisers.  “Over the past couple days, Republicans have sought to ramp up criticism over Braley’s hearing attendance, seizing on a Sept. 20, 2012, VA committee hearing he missed. It occurred the same day as three campaign fundraisers he attended.  “He made time to attend all three of the fundraisers. But he couldn’t make time to show up at the hearing,” Kochel said.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Braley Claimed He Skipped His VA Hearing For The Hearing Below

Bruce Braley’s Campaign Said They Skipped The Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing Because He Was At The Oversight And Government Reform Hearing.”  Braley campaign spokesman Jeff Giertz said fundraisers Braley scheduled on Sept. 20 didn’t conflict with the VA hearings. The congressman missed the 10 a.m. Veterans Affairs Committee meeting because he was at an Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting that began at 9:36 a.m., Giertz said.”  (Braley Attended Three Fundraisers on Day of Missed Veterans Affairs Hearing, The Des Moines Register, 07/22/14)

So Here’s The Opening Remarks From VA Hearing That Braley Missed

In His Opening Remarks, Chairman Miller Raised Concern For Delays Experienced By Veterans Seeking Mental Health Care. “Despite these successes, progress isn’t being made fast enough, or at all, in other key areas.  On the important issue of mental health care, too many veterans either do not seek assistance or are unable to get VA care in a timely manner.  As a result, access to mental health care is in crisis. In April, the VA Inspector General released a report finding that more than half of the veterans who seek mental health care through VA wait fifty days – that’s five-zero days – on average – to receive an evaluation. These are men and women who have taken the brave and difficult step of seeking help – and they are waiting too long to receive it.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

In His Opening Remarks, Chairman Miller Set As A Focus Item For The Meeting The 66.4 Percent Of Veterans Waiting More Than 125 Days For Care. “Another area of continued concern is the backlog of disability claims.  Notwithstanding pledges by VA officials that we’re about to “turn the corner,” the backlog has steadily increased throughout the past two years.  At the beginning of this Congress, the number of pending claims was 764, 476, with 39.4% pending for more than 125 days.  As of this month, that total number of claims pending increased to 897,767, with 66.4% pending over 125 days.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)

Chairman Miller Also Raised Concern Regarding The VA Spending And The Department’s Performance. “VA’s Senior Executive Service Bonus Program continues to average nearly $4 million in annual pay-outs with no apparent correlation between these bonuses and agency performance. The Committee is also addressing the lavish conference expenditures. I and Ranking Member Filner sent a letter to VA over a month ago asking for details as to how $100 million was spent in 2011 on conferences and to date, we have yet to receive a response.” (Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)


Jul 24 2014

Bruce Braley’s Decision To Skip 78 Percent Of His Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings

Quad City Times Reports That Braley Skipped 15 Of 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings.  “Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley is being criticized for missing most of the full Veterans Affairs Committee hearings held in 2011-12, when he was on the panel.  Braley, a Democratic congressman from Waterloo, missed 15 of 20 committee meetings, including two joint sessions with the Senate, and Republicans say this shows he puts little priority on veterans issues.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Quad City Times Notes That On The Same Day Braley Skipped A VA Hearing He Attended Three Fundraisers.  “Over the past couple days, Republicans have sought to ramp up criticism over Braley’s hearing attendance, seizing on a Sept. 20, 2012, VA committee hearing he missed. It occurred the same day as three campaign fundraisers he attended.  “He made time to attend all three of the fundraisers. But he couldn’t make time to show up at the hearing,” Kochel said.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

Des Moines Register Reports That Braley’s Staff Doesn’t Know Why He Missed A VA Hearing On October 12, 2011.  “The Republican Party of Iowa on Monday issued a statement criticizing Braley for missing so many committee meetings, pointing out that one he skipped on Oct. 12, 2011 was described as a window into national problems at the VA because it exposed trouble at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Braley’s spokesman said he’s not sure why the congressman missed that hearing …”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Under Fire For Missing VA Oversight Meetings, The Des Moines Register, 07/23/14)

Braley Couldn’t Credibly Explain Why He Missed A VA Hearing On September 20, 2012.  As The Des Moines Register Reports:  “At 10:19 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2012, the committee held a hearing on a backlog of disability claims and reports of problems with mental health care and stewardship of VA funding, congressional records show. The roll call shows Braley didn’t attend.  Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.  Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.  Members of Congress can check in as “present” at a hearing, stay for a brief time – sometimes to ask a question – and then leave. Braley didn’t ask a question, the transcript shows.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Under Fire For Missing VA Oversight Meetings, The Des Moines Register, 07/23/14)

The Washington Examiner Reports That Braley Had The Second-Lowest Attendance Record For The Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  This also gives him the second-lowest attendance record for the committee, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of committee minutes.  Only Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., had a worse attendance record (at 16 percent). The average attendance rate for the committee was 60 percent, and just 15 of the 24 members had attendance rates above 50 percent.  (Ashe Schow, Bruce Braley Missed 79 Percent Of Full Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings As Scandal Heated Up, The Washington Examiner, 07/22/14)  

The Hill Reports That Braley’s Poor Attendance On The VA Committee Could Hurt Him On The Campaign Trail.  “Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is under fire for missing a number of hearings of the committee that oversees the Veterans Administration. … The low attendance for a committee overseeing the VA, which has been embroiled in scandal, could hurt Braley on the campaign trail.”  (Cam Joseph, Braley Takes Heat For Missing VA Hearing, The Hill, 07/23/14)

The Washington Free Beacon Reports That Republicans Are Reminding Iowans That Braley Neglected Early Warning Signs Of Problems Within The VA.  “Republicans have charged Braley with neglecting early warnings about problems that reportedly plague VA centers across the country. Reports of VA staffers who falsely altered patient records to mask long wait times for veterans led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki earlier this year.”  (Dan Wiser, Video Evidence Puts Braley Campaign’s Claims In Question, The Washington Free Beacon, 07/23/14)

The Weekly Standard Reports That On September 20, 2012 Braley Skipped His VA Hearing But Was Able To Attend 3 Fundraisers For His Re-Election.  “Rep. Bruce Braley, the Iowa Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, missed three quarters of committee hearings concerning oversight of the Veterans Affairs administration in 2011 and 2012, including one, the Des Moines Register reports, on the same day Braley attended three fundraisers.”  (Michael Warren, Where Was Bruce Braley?, The Weekly Standard, 07/23/14)

Dana Perino Tells Braley Not To Lie About Why He Was Missed His VA Hearings.  “In Iowa, Bruce Braley he’s a Congressman, he’s running for the Senate in Iowa.  One of the complaints, attacks from the other side, the Republicans, has been he’s on the House Veterans’ Affair Committee and missed 75% of those hearings, including one in 2012 that was an important one.  You might say that’s not important, who cares, right?  But he was actually — his campaign said he was at a Fast and Furious hearing.  Turns out, he wasn’t there either.  He was at fundraisers, which from a PR perspective just tell the truth it would be a lot easier than what you’re dealing with.”  (Dana Perino, The Five, Fox News, 07/23/14)


Jul 23 2014

Just Tell The Truth Bruce

 

FOX NEWS:  “In Iowa, Bruce Braley he’s a Congressman, he’s running for the Senate in Iowa.  One of the complaints, attacks from the other side, the Republicans, has been he’s on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and missed 75% of those hearings, including one in 2012 that was an important one.  You might say that’s not important, who cares, right?  But he was actually — his campaign said he was at a Fast and Furious hearing.  Turns out, he wasn’t there either.  He was at fundraisers, which from a PR perspective just tell the truth, it would be a lot easier than what you’re dealing with.”  (Dana Perino, The Five, Fox News, 07/23/14)

 


Jul 23 2014

Why Did Bruce Braley Skip His VA Hearing On September 20, 2012?

Bruce Braley claimed to miss the House Veterans’ Affairs hearing for a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing, but after reviewing the transcript and the footage, there were no signs of him being present.

  • Bruce Braley’s Campaign Said They Skipped The Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing Because He Was At The Oversight And Government Reform Hearing.  ”Braley campaign spokesman Jeff Giertz said fundraisers Braley scheduled on Sept. 20 didn’t conflict with the VA hearings. The congressman missed the 10 a.m. Veterans Affairs Committee meeting because he was at an Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting that began at 9:36 a.m., Giertz said.”  (Braley Attended Three Fundraisers on Day of Missed Veterans Affairs Hearing,The Des Moines Register, 07/22/14)

For your knowledge, the House Veterans Affairs Committee started at 10:19 AM EDT and ended at 11:54 AM EDT.  If you scroll down to the the bottom of this email, below is every screen shot that shows his chair from the House Oversight and Government Reform hearing during that time period.  What you’ll see in every photo is Bruce Braley’s empty chair.

This leads to the following questions:

  • Did Bruce Braley actually attend this hearing?
  • What time did Bruce Braley arrive at the House Oversight hearing?  
  • Is there a reason that Bruce Braley decided not to speak at  this hearing?  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg76369/pdf/CHRG-112hhrg76369.pdf
  • How long did Bruce Braley attend this hearing?
  • Assuming that Bruce Braley was at this hearing, at what time did he depart?
  • Does Bruce Braley really attend his committee hearings in Washington or does he check some box to fool voters back in Iowa that he’s doing his job?



Jul 22 2014

Bruce Braley Skipped VA’s FY2013 Budget Hearing

DES MOINES – While 18 of his colleagues of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee convened to discuss the FY2013 budget for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Washington liberal Bruce Braley was once again nowhere to be found.

Braley has missed 78 percent of the full Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, including an important oversight hearing and another regarding the nationwide problems within the VA.

“Whether it’s skipping a VA hearing on performance and accountability or the annual budget hearing of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, it’s clear Bruce Braley isn’t that concerned about the welfare of our veterans,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “After skipping 78 percent of his House VA Committee hearings, there’s no way Bruce Braley can credibly tell our veterans that he’s looking out for them.” 

BACKGROUND …

Bruce Braley Skipped 78 Percent Of His Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings.  “In fact, we found Braley missed 78 percent of the full hearings in 2011 and 2012.”  (FACT CHECK: Iowa GOP claims Braley missed most of Veterans’ Affairs hearings, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, 07/19/14)

On February 15, 2012 Bruce Braley Skipped FY2013 Budget Request Hearing For The Department Of Veterans Affairs.  “The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:31 a.m., in Room 334, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Jeff Miller [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.  Present: Representatives Miller, Bilirakis, Roe, Johnson, Runyan, Buerkle, Huelskamp, Turner, Filner, Brown, Reyes, Michaud, Sanchez, McNerney, Donnelly, Walz, Barrow, and Carnahan.”  (U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs Budget Request For Fiscal Year 2013, U.S. Government Printing Office, 02/15/12, Accessed 07/22/14)

  • Chairman Miller’s Opening Statement Says This Hearing Pertains To The FY2013 Budget For The Department Of Veterans Affairs.  “The Chairman. Good morning, everybody. This hearing will come to order. Welcome to this morning’s hearing to review the administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs.”  (U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs Budget Request For Fiscal Year 2013, U.S. Government Printing Office, 02/15/12, Accessed 07/22/14)

On September 20, 2012 Bruce Braley Skipped A Full Committee Hearing Regarding The VA’s Performance And Accountability.  “The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:19 a.m., in Room 334, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Jeff Miller [Chairman of the Committee] presiding. Present: Representatives Miller, Roe, Stutzman, Flores, Johnson, Runyan, Benishek, Huelskamp, Turner, Brown, Michaud, McNerney, Walz, and Barrow.  The Chairman. The Committee will come to order.  Thank you, everybody, for being here for today’s Full Committee hearing entitled Veterans Affairs in the 112th  Congress: Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability.”  (Veterans Affairs In The 112th Congress: Reviewing Va’s Performance And Accountability, U.S. Government Printing Office, Accessed 07/21/14)

On October 12, 2012 Bruce Braley Skipped A Full Committee Hearing Titled “Failures At Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center: Window To A National Problem.”  “The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in Room 334, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Jeff Miller [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.  Present: Representatives Miller, Lamborn, Bilirakis, Roe, Stutzman, Flores, Johnson, Denham, Runyan, Benishek, Huelskamp, Amodei, Turner, McNerney, Donnelly, Walz, and Barrow.”  (Failures At Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center: Window To A National Problem, U.S. Government Printing Office, Accessed 7/20/14)