WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today was joined by Republican leaders and American veterans for a press event to tout the VA Management Accountability Act, legislation introduced by Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) that gives the VA Secretary the ability to demote or remove senior officials who fail our veterans. Following are Boehner’s remarks:
“The House today joins the nation in mourning the loss of life at Fort Hood. And we join the president in sending our condolences to the loved ones for those who were lost. And I want the families and first responders to know that we stand with you, we stand by you, and we’re praying for you.
“I want to thank all the veterans who honor us today with their presence here. These men and women are amongst the 22 million Americans who rely on the Veterans Administration every day. And we’re here because, by any measure, the VA is failing them and their families.
“The horror stories are well known. The claims backlog, the safety incidents, the construction delays, and the many deaths that could have been prevented. My district office alone is handling more than 100 veterans cases as we speak. We’ve got an Air Force vet in Middletown, Ohio who’s been waiting for 20 months for them to verify that he’s married so that he can claim his benefits. And guess what, he’s been married for 49 years!
“Meanwhile, over at the VA, there’s no accountability – only business as usual. You know, at the VA facility in Dayton, Ohio, hundreds of patients were exposed to hepatitis B and C. While this was under investigation, the director of the hospital collected a five-figure bonus. And then he was promoted.
“You know, I thought I’d seen the worst of government, but this goes beyond the pale. If you’re presiding over a bureaucracy that’s failing our veterans, you shouldn’t be receiving bonuses. You should be gone.
“It’s time to clean up this mess to bring real accountability to the Veterans Administration. And soon the House will act to do just that.”
NOTE: Speaker Boehner was joined at the event by Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and Louis J. Celli Jr., National Legislative Director for The American Legion.
Photos from the event may be viewed here.