LaMalfa Demands Accountability at Veterans Affairs, Passes Measures on House Floor

May 22, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today spoke on the floor of the House to demand accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs and read whistleblower statements detailing waste, fraud and abuse at the Oakland VA office. Yesterday the House passed a bill LaMalfa cosponsored authorizing the termination of Veterans Affairs officials who were complicit in abuses at the agency. The House also passed an amendment LaMalfa authored requiring Veterans Affairs offices to provide  updates on veterans’ claims, regardless of whether claims had been reassigned from different VA offices.

“Thanks to whistleblowers, we now know the extent of mismanagement and unethical conduct by the management of the Oakland VA office. How many veterans are homeless or without medical care because their claims have sat in a basement? How many veterans have died because they’ve been unable to receive the care they need, while their claims sat untouched in a closet?” said LaMalfa. “Some this behavior is very deliberate worthy of criminal prosecution. I thank those VA employees who want to do what is right for our veterans, who have been bold enough to step forward and let us know what is going behind the scenes. The system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Video of LaMalfa’s comments detailing problems at the Oakland Regional VA Office may be found at the following link: https://youtu.be/1iXgQpPfU4s

The bill LaMalfa’s cosponsored, H.R. 4031, passed on a 390-33 vote and will now be considered in the Senate.

“The President said yesterday that those responsible for the misdeeds at Veterans Affairs will be held responsible, but we heard the same tune from him when he ran for office back in 2008,” said LaMalfa. “Much like other members of his administration who have failed in their duties, the VA officials responsible for the wrongdoing in Arizona are simply on paid administrative leave. This measure will ensure that when abuses occur at the VA, those responsible are fired – not on a paid vacation.”  

Video of LaMalfa’s comments on H.R.4031 may be found at the following link: https://youtu.be/Ou44H-t5Zl0

LaMalfa’s amendment, which he cosponsored with Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), passed unanimously and was added to the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 4435.

“After waiting months for their claims to be processed, the absolute last thing veterans should hear is that red tape doesn’t allow VA offices to communicate their claim’s status.  Bureaucratic confusion over jurisdiction should never prevent a VA office from providing veterans with information that veterans need to ensure that they receive the benefits they have earned,” added LaMalfa.  

“I’m grateful to have successfully collaborated with Rep. LaMalfa on this important reform to help veterans. Simply put, the size of the VA backlog is unacceptable. Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect the United States, but they’re kept waiting for months and months to receive the benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Congressman Huffman.

 

Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties. 

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