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Jul 21 2014

Braley Skipped Hearing on Nationwide Scope of Problems Within the VA

DES MOINES – This past weekend, Iowans learned that Bruce Braley skipped 78 percent of his full committee hearings while on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Braley’s absence included a key hearing that exposed the problems of the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and how it was a window to a national problem.

“Bruce Braley turned his back on our veterans, because when he had the chance to learn about the nationwide problems within the VA, he skipped the hearing,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “If Braley did his job and didn’t skip 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, he would’ve seen that our VA is crumbling and failing to provide our veterans with proper care. 

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 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)


Jul 21 2014

Braley Skipped VA Hearing Regarding Backlogged Disability Claims

DES MOINES – With the Cedar Rapids Gazette reporting that liberal Washington Congressman Bruce Braley skipped 78 percent of his full committee hearings while on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the Republican Party of Iowa is reminding veterans that his absence included an important hearing that examined the backlog of disability claims within the agency.
“Washington liberal Bruce Braley had the chance to pro-actively address the backlog of disability claims within the VA but decided to skip the hearing,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “With an absentee rate of 78 percent on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it’s clear Braley thinks his time is better spent pushing Barack Obama’s job-killing agenda than ensuring that our veterans receive proper care from the VA.”

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 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)


Jul 19 2014

Washington Liberal Bruce Braley’s No Good, Very Bad, Terrible Week

MONDAY … Iowans Learned That Bruce Braley Thought About Suing His Neighbor Over Chickens

FOX News’ Bret Baier Reports That Bruce Braley Sued His Neighbor Because A Chicken Walked On His Lawn.  “Finally we will see in November if the chickens do in fact come home to roost for Iowa’s Democrat Senate nominee.  Congressman Bruce Braley has upset some folks in his neighborhood over a dispute involving chickens next door.  Yes chickens. … A member of Braley’s homeowners association tells Fox News Braley implied a lawsuit over the birds after one allegedly walked into his yard.”  (Bret Baier, Special Report, Fox News, 07/14/14)

TUESDAY … Stu Rothenberg Moved Iowa’s Senate Race To A Toss-Up

Roll Call’s Stu Rothenberg Moves Iowa’s Senate Race From Lean Democrat To Toss-Up.  “In something of a surprise, the sixth best Republican opportunity is now Iowa.Barack Obama carried Iowa twice, so Democrats ought to have a narrow but clear advantage to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s open seat. But the combination of an interesting Republican nominee, Joni Ernst, and Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley’s early missteps has smart Democrats fretting about the contest. … But it’s no longer possible to see Braley as the clear favorite in this Senate race, which now looks like a Tossup.”  (Stu Rothenberg, Fight for the Senate Still Very Much Up in the Air, Roll Call, 07/15/14)

National Journal Declares Joni Ernst The Most Surprising Candidate For 2014.  Most surprising candidate: Joni Ernst (R), Iowa Senate nominee:  What a difference a year makes. The early conventional wisdom on Iowa’s Senate race was that Republicans lacked top-tier candidates and faced a high risk of nominating a too-conservative, less-electable candidate. After comfortably winning the primary, Ernst is proving that she’s one of the top Senate recruits in the country. Her farming background and military experience are major biographical assets, allowing her to draw a sharp contrast with Democrat Bruce Braley, an attorney. And Democrats haven’t found any damaging oppo against her (yet), while Braley has struggled to get past his videotaped comments at a fundraiser mocking Sen. Chuck Grassley for being a farmer without a law degree.  (The 2014 Against the Grain Awards, National Journal, 07/15/14)

@ManuRajuPost is bullish about Joni Ernst in #IASEN, saying she has a 78 percent chance of winning.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dre/politics/election-lab-2014#iowa

@RobEngstromTrial lawyer @BruceBraley receives honorable mention from @NationalJournal as “most disappointing candidate.” http://ow.ly/zgEsY  #iasen

WEDNESDAY … Joni Ernst Outraised Bruce Braley In The Second Quarter And A NBC/Marist Poll Has Them Tied

The Des Moines Register Reports That Joni Ernst Outraised Washington Liberal Braley.  “Republican Joni Ernst raised $1.78 million. She only had 26 days after winning the primary to fundraise as the GOP nominee, aides told The Des Moines Register. She had more than $1 million in the bank at the end of the period.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Ernst Outraises Braley With Nearly $1.8 Million For The Quarter, The Des Moines Register, 07/16/14)

An NBC/Marist Poll Which Historically Leans Democrat Revealed Joni Ernst Tied With Bruce Braley.  A new NBC/Marist poll shows the Iowa Senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley is neck and neck. The poll shows both Ernst and Braley have 43% of registered voters.  (Beth Marsoun, NBC/Marist Poll Has Braley And Ernst Tied, KWQC-TV, 07/16/14)

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski Says Joni Ernst Is Surging.  “Republican candidate Joni Ernst, we know Joni.  She is surging.  Turning Iowa into a tight race. She’s tied up with Democrat Bruce Braley at 43 percent.  That’s an exciting race.”  (Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 07/16/14)

American Crossroads Releases A Web Video Highlighting That Braley Tried To Sue His Neighbor Over Chickens.  The farm animal theme in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, which has been rife with tales of barnyard braggadocio and imagery of peeping chicks, continues with a new attack ad with a chicken theme.  American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-backed conservative super PAC, released a Web ad today that touches on the kerfuffle earlier this year over some chickens that were running loose on Democrat Bruce Braley’s vacation property at Holiday Lake, near his native hometown of Brooklyn.  The covenant for the Holiday Lake private neighborhood bars anything but house pets. Braley notified the association lawyer, who was concerned about a possible lawsuit, according to emails provided to The Des Moines Register. The chicken owner is a veteran and Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteer who maintains that the chickens are therapy for the children she works with. The association lawyer decided the hens qualify as pets, but must be confined, the emails show.  (Jennifer Jacobs, Chasing Chickens: Barnyard Animal Theme Continues In Iowa Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/16/14)

@DToddHarris:  Spending in IA since primary: Dems: $1.5M; GOP: $750K. Race is tied. Iowans see through cheap attacks on @joniernst #iasen

@DDKochelMarch 24. Look it up. RT @TimAlbrechtIA: Good lord. When’s the last time @BruceBraley woke up and said it’s a good day to be me? #iasen

THURSDAY … Iowans Learned That Bruce Braley Consistently Missed His VA Committee Hearings In Washington

Iowa Republican Party Hammered Washington Liberal Bruce Braley For Missing 74 Percent Of His VA Committee Hearings.  “With Lt. Colonel Joni Ernst in the midst of her two-week training with the Iowa Army National Guard, today the Republican Party of Iowa is reminding voters that while he served on House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Bruce Braley skipped 74 percent of his full committee hearings.”  (While Joni Ernst Trains With The Iowa Army National Guard, Iowans Are Reminded That Bruce Braley Skipped 74% Of His VA Hearings, Press Release, 07/17/14)

@JoniErnstGuess who’s #OnDutyForJoni tonight? The Govs! Thank you @GovChristie and @TerryBranstad! #iasen #iapolitics

@JoniErnst:  .@KimReynoldsIA also joined the Govs on being #OnDutyForJoni tonight in Davenport! Thank you! #iasen #iapolitics

FRIDAY … The Cook Political Report Moved Iowa’s Senate Race To A Toss-Up

The Cook Political Report Moves Iowa’s Senate Race From Lean Democrat To Toss-Up.  Democrats settled on their nominee, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, early. Braley is a solid recruit, but he has taken several missteps, including insulting Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is very popular in the state.  He will also to defend his voting record, including his vote for the Affordable Care Ac, at a time when President Obama’s job approval ratings are upside down. … Polling indicates, though, that the race is a dead heat.  At this writing, the HuffPollster trend line shows the candidates separated by one-tenth of a point.  The race has moved to the Toss Up column.  (Jennifer Duffy, Iowa Senate: Moves to Toss Up, Cook Political Report, 07/18/14)

The Wall Street Journal Reports That The GOP Has Pummeled Bruce Braley.  Friday brings yet another indication that Senate Democrats are in trouble this year.  The nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved Iowa’s Senate race from its Lean Democratic column to Toss Up – a downgrade for Democrats that comes a day after an NBC/Marist poll found Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a dead heat with Republican Joni Ernst, an Iowa state senator.  For months, polling showed Mr. Braley in the lead over Ms. Ernst, who won a Republican primary last month. But Republicans have pummeled him for remarks recorded at a January fundraiser in which he disparaged Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) as a “farmer from Iowa” who could take the reins of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Mr. Braley suffered another round of bad press this week after Mr. Braley got into a spat over chickens with neighbors at his vacation home.  (Cook Downgrade: Another Bad Sign for Senate Democrats, The Wall Street Journal, 07/18/14)

Joni Ernst Released A Web Video Highlighting Her Service To Our Country.  “Today, Mother, Soldier, Independent Leader and Iowa’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst, released a web ad titled, ‘Service.’”  (Joni Ernst, Press Release, 07/18/14)

Kay Henderson The Dean Of The Iowa Press Corps Said Democrats Can’t Believe Bruce Braley Attacked Senator Chuck Grassley For Being A Farmer.  “I want to go back to the video that you mentioned that is being played over and over of what Congressman Braley said in Texas.  Talk about eye rolling.  There’s a lot of Democrats who have rolled their eyes about that.  There’re sorta incredulous that a candidate running for the United States Senate would ever decide to utter that kind of a statement.  It’s an indictment of him as a legitimate candidate.”  (Kay Henderson, Iowa Press, PBS, 07/18/14)


Jul 18 2014

With Ernst On Duty, Braley Skipped 74% Of His VA Hearings

DES MOINES – With Joni Ernst fulfilling her obligations with the Iowa Army National Guard by leading her battalion through their annual two-week training program, the Republican Party of Iowa is reminding voters that Washington liberal Congressman Bruce Braley skipped 74 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings.  Braley’s absence is remarkable, given that before he landed his post on the VA committee, then-Senator Barack Obama railed against the problems within the Veterans’ Affairs Department.

“It’s sickening to know that Bruce Braley knew about the bureaucracy within the VA, landed a coveted spot on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and then proceeded to skip 74 percent of the committee hearings,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “Given Braley’s lack of attention to veterans’ issues, our brave men and women who have defended our country deserve a senator like Lt. Colonel Joni Ernst who will always fight for them.”  

BACKGROUND …

In 2007, Barack Obama Promised To Fix The Problems Within The VA

Then-Senator Barack Obama Alerted His Colleagues About The Problems Within The VA And Promised As President He Would Fix The Problems.   “After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.”  (Barack Obama, Obama Campaign Announces National Veterans Advisory Committee, Press Release, 11/17/07)

Braley Skipped 74 Percent Of His Veterans Affairs Committee Hearings 

In The 112th Congress While Serving On The House Committee On Veterans’ Affairs Bruce Braley Missed 74 Percent Of The Hearings.   (U.S. Government Congressional Printing Office, Congressional Hearings Database, Accessed October 31, 2013)

Committee                        Tenure          Total Hearings*        Hearings Braley Skipped
Veterans Affairs                    2011-12            19                                     14 [74%]

(U.S. Government Congressional Printing Office, Congressional Hearings Database, Accessed October 31, 2013)  * Please note that the tallies do not include subcommittee or out-of-state field hearings.

Barack Obama & Bruce Braley’s VA Isn’t Working For Our Veterans

According To The VA Inspector General Report, 1,700 Veterans, In The Phoenix Health Care System, Were Waiting For A Health Care Appointment But Were Not Included On The Electronic Waiting List.“To date, our work has substantiated serious conditions at the Phoenix HCS. We identified about 1,400 veterans who did not have a primary care appointment but were appropriately included on the Phoenix HCS’ EWLs. However, we identified an additional 1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the EWL. Until that happens, the reported wait time for these veterans has not started. Most importantly, these veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix HCS’s convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment. A direct consequence of not appropriately placing veterans on EWLs is that the Phoenix HCS leadership significantly understated the time new patients waited for their primary care appointment in their FY 2013 performance appraisal accomplishments, which is one of the factors considered for awards and salary increases.” (“Review Of Patient Wait Times, Scheduling Practices, And Alleged Patient Deaths At The Phoenix Health Care System,” VA OIG Interim Report 14-02603-178, 5/28/14)

The VA IG Report Found That A Sample Of 226 Veterans, With Health Care Appointments, Waited On Average 115 Days For Their First Primary Care Appointment. “To review the new patient wait times for primary care in FY 2013, we reviewed a statistical sample of 226 Phoenix HCS appointments. VA national data, which was reported by Phoenix HCS, showed these 226 veterans waited on average 24 days for their first primary care appointment and only 43 percent waited more than 14 days. However, our review showed these 226 veterans waited on average 115 days for their first primary care appointment with approximately 84 percent waiting more than 14 days. At this time, we believe that most of the waiting time discrepancies occurred because of delays between the veteran’s requested appointment date and the date the appointment was created. However, we found that in at least 25 percent of the 226 appointments reviewed, evidence, in veterans’ medical records, indicates that these veterans received some level of care in the Phoenix HCS, such as treatment in the emergency room, walk in clinics, or mental health clinics.” (“Review Of Patient Wait Times, Scheduling Practices, And Alleged Patient Deaths At The Phoenix Health Care System,” VA OIG Interim Report 14-02603-178, 5/28/14)


Jul 18 2014

Iowa Senate: Moves to Toss Up

Cook Political Report
Jennifer Duffy
July 18, 2014
http://cookpolitical.com/story/7548

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s decision to retire at the end of this Congress after serving five terms has created an opening for Republicans in this swing state. With the primary behind them, Republicans are positioned to make the most of that opportunity. State Sen. Joni Ernst took 56 percent to win the nomination on June 3. … The party has now united around Ernst’s candidacy.  Democrats settled on their nominee, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, early. Braley is a solid recruit, but he has taken several missteps, including insulting Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is very popular in the state.   …  The race has moved to the Toss Up column.

To read the entire story please visit the Cook Political Report: http://cookpolitical.com/story/7548