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 defend 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)