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

66 Percent Of Our Veterans Had To Wait Over 125 Days To Receive Care From The VA

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)