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)